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A Picture of Svcriss Pastoral Life in the 
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Elizabeth Christine. 



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Copyright 1880, by 

New York. 


^HE following volume is the fourth 
in the series of " Good Women of 
History." The chief source for infor- 
mation in its preparation has been Ziethe's 
" Elizabeth Christine Gemahlin Friedrichs des 
Grossen," published in Berlin in 1866. In 
addition we have used Carlyle's '' History of 
Friedrich II., of Prussia, called Frederick the 
Great," (London ed., 10 vols. 1872;) Abbott, 
" Life of Frederick the Great ; " and Hud- 
son, " The Life and Times of Louisa, Queen 
of Prussia." (2 vols. London. 1874.) 

The period covered by the career of Queen 
Elizabeth Christine is one of great interest in 
relation to the development of the Prussian 

8 NOTE. 

kingdom, and the present " Life " is designed 
to show how brightly a pure and noble char- 
acter can shine, and exert an influence, amid 
neglect and comparative seclusion, and how 
the Christian life can be preserved and culti- 
vated in the palace not less than in the cot- 
tage. While Frederick the Great had his 
victories, which attracted the attention of all 
Europe, and will continue to excite the admi- 
ration of posterity, the triumphs of his sad 
but trusting wife, though of a very different 
character, were none the less brilliant, and 
were the fruit of a spirit none the less heroic. 

Madison, New Jersey, May 12, 1880. 




I. Youth of Frederick the Great ii 

II. Youth of Elizabeth Christine 32 

III. Betrothal 42 

IV. Marriage Festivities 61 

V. In Rheinsberg Castle 73 

VI. Happy Days 89 

VII. Death of King Frederick 99 

VIII. The New King and Queen 107 

IX. Prussian Victories 120 

X. The Queen's Sorrows 128 

XI. More Battle-Fields 136 

XII. End of the Seven Years' War 149 

XIII. Elizabeth Christine's Literary Labors . . 160 

XIV. Religious Life — Further Literary La- 

bors 170 

XV. Last Days of Frederick the Great 185 

XVI. The Country in Mourning. 196 

XVII. Fifty Years in Schonhausen 210 



XVITI. Incidents from Frederick William III.'s 

Boyhood 217 

XIX. The Fackel Tanz 226 

XX. Beautiful Old Age 233 

XXI. Rest at Last 246 


Elizabeth Christine 4 

Fritz and his Sister 15 

Pleasure Party at Rheinsberg 82 

Frederick of Prussia 106 

Monument of Frederick the Great 197' 





l^outh of !fi:ie4e)|ic)? the (pi^iaai 

?JHE reign of Frederick the Great was 
one of the most Important in the his- 
tory of Europe. His great power over 
surrounding nations placed him at the head 
of the mlHtary commanders of his times, and 
laid the foundation of the present extent and 
grandeur of the Prussian monarchy. PIIs ob- 
ject was to build up his little kingdom into a 
leading European nation, and he succeeded in 
this great undertaking. 

Frederick the Great, the son of Frederick 
William and Sophia Dorothea, was born in 


the royal palace of Berlin on January 24, 1 712. 
The event was celebrated throughout the king- 
dom with every manifestation of popular joy. 
The public and private buildings in the cities 
and towns, and even villages, were brilliantly 
illuminated, while bonfires were built in thou- 
sands of public squares all over the land. The 
baptismal service was celebrated on January 
31, with all the display commonly shown in 
monarchical countries to heirs to the throne. 
The Emperor of Germany, Charles VI., was 
present at the ceremony, and the State, the 
army, and the Church vied with each other in 
the splendor which each gave to the occasion. 
The name given the child was Charles Fred- 
erick, but the former was afterward dropped, 
and Frederick became the only name by which 
he was ever known, either during his brilliant 
career or on the page of history. 

The mother of young Frederick, Sophia 
Dorothea, was the daughter of the Elector of 
Hanover, and sister of George II. of England. 


Little " Fritz," as he was fondly called, was a 
very delicate child, but, at the same time, 
sprightly and attractive. He was placed early 
under the charge of a governess, Madame de 
Roucoulles, who devoted her entire time in 
caring for him. She was from Normandy, in 
France, and of noble origin, and was among 
the number of French refugees who fled from 
their country on the Revocation of the Edict 
of Nantes. She had, therefore, proved her 
Protestant faith, and had won the confidence 
of all who became acquainted with her in the 
Prussian capital, and her Christian influence 
at that time made a very beneficial impression 
on young Fritz. 

He began to develop his military taste at a 
very early age. The atmosphere about him 
was that of the army and warfare, and he was 
accustomed to look through the palace win- 
dows and admire the parades and reviews of 
the soldiers in their bright uniforms, with 
their banners flying and the bands playing. 


On the wall of the Charlottenburg Castle there 
is a picture of him when only three or four 
years of age, playing soldier and beating his 
drum. His sister, Wilhelmina, is at his side, 
and takes great pleasure in her little brother's 
enthusiasm. She is gayly dressed and decorat- 
ed with ribbons and flowers, while little Fritz 
wears a blue velvet dress and sash crossed 
over his shoulder, with a star or rosette on 
his left breast. His cap is ornamented with a 
beautiful raven's feather. The king came in 
unexpectedly as they were playing, and was 
so overjoyed at seeing the two children in this 
brilliant array and military mood, that he or- 
dered the court painter, Pesne, to be sent for, 
and to paint them exactly as he found them 
when he entered the room. This picture is 
unique, and has been copied many times. We 
frequently, down to the present time, meet 
with it in the German book and print shops. 
When little Fritz grew to manhood he be- 
stowed great favor upon Pesne, the artist. 

Fritz and his Sister. 


The king exerted himself in every way pos- 
sible to cultivate the growing military spirit 
in Fritz. He organized a miniature soldiers' 
company for him, and placed him in command 
of it. This consisted at first of one hundred 
boys, but afterward numbered three hundred, 
and bore the name of the '' Crown Prince's 
Cadets." The king was very fond of these 
youthful heroes, and lavished much money on 
their equipment. Indeed, he seemed to take 
more pleasure in them than in his whole stand- 
ing army. 

When Fritz was seven years of age he was 
considered old enough to be taken from the 
charge of Madame de Roucoulles and placed 
under the guidance of tutors, who had been 
selected with the utmost care. There were 
three of them, and each was assigned a spe- 
cial class of duties — Monsieur Duhan was a 
French gentleman, of noble birth and great 
accomplishments ; Count von Finkenstein was 
a veteran general, sixty years of age ; and 


Colonel Kalkenstein, a thorough soldier. They 
very soon won the esteem and love of their 
pupil, and to their wise care over him must be 
attributed much of that inflexibility of char- 
acter which afterward distinguished his entire 

The king, however, kept a close watch over 
these men. He carefully observed their meth- 
ods, and noted minutely the progress which 
his boy made from day to day. He drew up 
for Fritz a special code of instruction, which is 
expressed in a most ludicrous and confused 
manner. We give the most interesting part 
of it, as translated by Carlyle, with now and 
then a dash of his own comments : 

" My son must be impressed with a proper 
love and fear of God, as the foundation and 
sole pillar of our temporal and eternal wel- 
fare. No false religions, or sects of Atheists, 
Arian, Socinian, or whatever name the poison- 
ous things have which can so easily corrupt a 


young mind, are to be even named in his 
hearing ; on the other hand, .a proper abhor- 
rence of Papistry, and insight into its base- 
lessness and nonsensicahty, is to be communi- 
cated to him. Papistry, which is false enough, 
like the others, but impossible to be ignored 
like them ; mention that, and give him due 
abhorrence for it. For we are Protestant to 
the bone in this country, and cannot stand 
absurdities, least of all hypocritically religious 
ditto. But the grand thing will be to impress 
on him the true religion, which consists essen- 
tially in this, that Christ died for all men, and 
generally that the Almighty's justice is eter- 
nal and omnipresent, which consideration is 
the only means of keeping a sovereign person, 
or one freed from human penalties, in the 
right way. 

'* He is to learn no Latin ; observe that, 
however it may surprise you. What has a 
living German man and king of the eighteenth 
Christian century to do with dead old heathen 


Latins, Romans, and the lingo they spoke 
their fraction of sense and nonsense in ? 
Frightful how the young years of the Euro- 
pean generations have been wasted for ten 
centuries back ; and the thinkers of the world 
have become mere walking sacks of marine 
stores. Learned, as they call themselves, and 
gone lost to the world, in that manner, as a 
set of confiscated pedants — babbling about 
said heathens and their extinct lingo and frac- 
tion of sense and nonsense for the thousand 
years last past ! Heathen Latins, Romans, 
who perhaps were no great things of heathen 
after all, if well seen into ? I have heard 
judges say they were inferior, in real worth 
and grist, to German home-growths we have 
had, if the confiscated pedants could have dis- 
cerned it. At any rate, they are dead, buried 
deep, these two thousand years ; well out of 
our way ; and nonsense enough of our own 
left to keep sweeping into corners. Silence 
about their lingo and them to this new crown 


prince. Let the prince learn French and Ger- 
man, so as to write and speak with brevity 
and propriety in these two languages, which 
may be useful to him in life. That will suf- 
fice for languages, provided he have any thing 
effectually rational to say of them. For the 

'^ Let him learn arithmetic, mathematics, 
artillery, economy to the very bottom. And, 
in short, useful knowledge generally ; useless 
ditto not at all. History in particular ; an- 
cient history only slightly, but the history of 
the last hundred and fifty years to the exact- 
est pitch. . . . With increasing years you will 
more and more, to a most especial degree, go 
upon fortifications, mark you ! the formation 
of a camp and the other war-sciences, that the 
prince may, from youth upward, be trained to 
act as officer and general, and to seek all his 
glory in the soldier profession. Impress on 
him that as there is nothing in the world 

which can bring a prince renown and honor 



like the sword, so he would be a despised 
creature before all men if he did not love it, 
and seek his sole glory therein. 

'' On Sunday he is to rise at seven, and as 
soon as he has got his slippers on, shall kneel 
down at his bed-side and pray to God so all 
in the room may hear it (that there be no de- 
ception or short measure palmed upon us) in 
these words : ' Lord God, blessed Father, I 
thank thee from vc.y heart that thou hast so 
graciously preserved me through this night. 
Fit me for what thy holy will is ; and grant 
that I do nothing this day, nor all the days of 
my life, which can divide me from thee. For 
the Lord Jesus, my Redeemer's sake. Amen.' 
After which the Lord's Prayer. Then rapidly 
and vigorously wash him.self clean, dress and 
powder and comb himself. We forgot to say 
that while they are combing and queueing him 
he breakfasts with brevity on tea. Prayer, 
with washing, breakfast and the rest to be 
done pointedly within fifteen minutes, that is. 


at a quarter past seven. This finished, and 
all his domestics and Monsieur Duhan shall 
come in and do family worship : prayer on 
their knees, Duhan to read a chapter in the 
Bible and sing some proper psalm or hymn as 
practiced in well-regulated families. It will 
then be a quarter to eight. The domestics 
then withdraw, and Duhan reads with my son 
the gospel of the Sunday, expounds it a little, 
adducing the main points of Christianity ; 
questioning from Noltenius' Catechism, (which 
Fritz knows perfectly,) it will then be nine 

"At nine he brings my son down to me, 
who goes to church, and dines, along with me, 
(dinner at the stroke of noon ;) the rest of the 
day is then his own, (Fritz's and Duhan's.) 
At half past nine in the evening he shall come 
in and bid me good-night. Shall then go di- 
rectly to his room, very rapidly get off his 
clothes, wash his hands, and as soon as that is 
done, Duhan makes a prayer on his knees and 


sings a hymn, all the servants being again 
there. Instantly after which my son shall get 
into bed ; must be in bed at half-past ten 

*' On Monday, as well as on all of the days 
of the week, he is to be called at six. You 
are to stand by him that he do not loiter or 
turn in bed, but briskly get up and say his 
prayers the same as on Sunday. From seven 
to nine Monsieur Duhan takes him on history. 
At nine comes Noltenius, (a sublime clerical 
gentleman from Berlin,) with the Christian 
religion. This lasts until quarter of eleven, 
when he comes to me and remains until two 
o'clock, perhaps promenading a little. From 
two to three his teacher must take him upon 
the maps and geography, giving account of all 
the European kingdoms, their strength, size, 
and weakness, and the richness and poverty 
of their towns. From three to four he must 
have a lesson on morality, and from four to 
five he shall write German letters so he shall 


learn a good style. At five Fritz shall wash 
his hands, come to me, ride out, divert him- 
self in the air, and do what he likes if it is not 
against God. . . . 

" Saturday forenoon till half-past ten come 
history, writing, and ciphering, especially a 
repetition of what he has done through the 
week. And in morality, he must be exam- 
ined to see whether he has profited. General 
Count von Finkenstein, with Colonel von 
Kalkstein, shall be present during the Satur- 
day rehearsal. If Fritz has profited, the after- 
noon shall be his own. If he has not profited, 
he shall, from two to six, repeat and learn 
rightly what he has forgotten on the past 

'* Here, however, is one general rule, which 
cannot be too much impressed upon you, 
with which we conclude : In dressing and 
undressing you must accustom him to get 
out of and into his clothes as fast as is hu- 
manly possible. You will also look that he 


learn to put on and put off his clothes himself 
without help from others, and that he be 
clean and neat, and not so dirty. Not so 
dirty, that is my last word ; and here is my 
sign-manual.* FREDERICK WiLLIAM." 

It was the habit of the king and his family 
to spend the autumn of every year at Wuster- 
hausen, a hunting-lodge about thirty miles 
from Berlin. These were delightful days, for 
there was a freedom from the restraint of court- 
life. Wilhelmina, Frederick's sister, describes 
in her ^' Memoirs " the happiness of the family 
in this retired spot, Fritz always being the 
center of her descriptions, as he was of her 
affections and admiration. She relates his 
juvenile military exploits and the delight with 
which he used to listen to Monsieur Du- 
han when playing the flute, the instrument 
v/hich Fritz himself became so fond of, and 

*Cf. Carlyle, "History of Friedricla II. of Prussia, called 
Frederick the Great." Vol. ii, pp. 13, 14, 19-21. 


played with such great skill in subsequent 

As Fritz developed Into manhood his par- 
ents began to arrange a matrimonial alliance 
for him, according to the usage of royal par- 
ents, who have a keener eye to State policy 
than affection or congeniality of temperament. 
The queen endeavored to contract a double 
alliance with the royal family of England. She 
wished Frederick to marry the Princess Amelia, 
of England, and the Prince of Wales to marry 
her daughter Wilhelmina. This would have 
been a marriage of cousins, the Guelphs with 
the HohenzoUerns. This was no ordinary un- 
dertaking, but the queen, with the full consent 
of the king„ used great adroitness for years 
to bring about her plan. She arranged visits 
for the English cousins, and made every effort 
possible to promote an attachment between 
them and her own children. She was in part 
successful. The young people became very 
fond of each other, but political affairs took an 


unfavorable turn to the alliance, and it was 
broken off. 

Wilhelmina would not admit, at that time, 
that she was at all attached to her cousin, the 
Prince of Wales, but in her valuable '' Me- 
moirs," which she wrote many years later, she 
confesses her love for him in those beautiful 
days which they spent together in their grand- 
mother's house in Hanover, and describes her 
perfect delight when he made her little pres- 
ents and called her his kleine frau — " little 

Fritz, too, was greatly attached to his cousin, 
the Princess Amelia. But when told that the 
engagement was broken off, he had no redress, 
and was obliged to submit. The effect on his 
mind was very injurious. He became reckless 
and cared little for the society of moral and 
religious people. He sought a change of 
scene by visiting Dresden. This was, at that 
time, a very corrupt city. Fritz soon became 
infatuated with wild and disorderly compan- 


ions. He gave much of his time to playing 
the flute. He was a pupil of Herr Quantz, a 
celebrated composer, but at the same time a 
man of very low origin and dissolute life. His 
residence in Dresden proved very detrimental 
to his moral character, and he never wholly 
lost the ill effects of it. 

On his return to Berlin he continued his 
reckless way of living, seeking out companions 
who were not at all elevating. Lieutenant 
von Katte, a young man of bad principles, 
was one of his favorites. One day the king 
entered his son's room unexpectedly, and found 
von Katte and Frederick in the midst of their 
foolish games. They tried to conceal their 
articles of gay theatrical dress and other for- 
bidden implements, but were unsuccessful. 
The king flew into a violent passion, seized 
Frederick's handsome scarlet dressing-gown 
and threw it into the fire. He then discharged 
Monsieur Quantz, the flute teacher, who had 
removed from Dresden to instruct Frederick. 


Young Frederick was very indignant at the 
severity of his father, and resolved upon flight. 
He planned an escape to England, being at- 
tracted there by his cousin, the Princess Ame- 
lia. The king intercepted the flight, and Fred- 
erick was compelled to return home. He was 
pardoned for this offense, but shortly afterward 
he, in company with his friend Lieutenant 
von Katte, made another attempt to escape 
to England. They were arrested just as they 
were embarking on the Rhine, were tried by 
court martial, and condemned to death for the 
crime of desertion. Lieutenant von Katte 
suffered the full penalty of the law. The king 
gave orders that his scaffold should be erected 
directly in front of his son's prison window. 
Frederick was confined for some time, but aft- 
erward pardoned. The king's views of justice 
were so severely strict, that had it not been 
for the intercession of the chief generals of the 
army Frederick would have suffered the same 
fate as his friend von Katte. 


After Frederick's release from prison he was 
removed to a small house in Ciistrin, where 
he was carefully guarded and subjected to the 
wise instruction of professors selected by his 
father. After signing the oath of allegiance 
his sword was again returned to him. A very 
decisive moment had now arrived in Frederick's 
life. The king, his father, and the Austrian 
embassador, Seckendorf, were negotiating for 
a marriage between him and the Brunswick 
princess, Elizabeth Christine. 


ITouth of Elizabeth (^hi^isiino. 

Elizabeth Christine, who be- 
came the wife of Frederick the Great, 
was the daughter of Duke Ferdinand 
Albert, of Brunswick-Bevern, later the reigning 
Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel. It was in 
the old castle at Wolfenblittel that Elizabeth 
Christine, on the 8th of November, 171 5, was 
born. Her father was a lineal descendant of 
Henry the Lion, the last of the house of 
Guelph who held the united duchies of Bavaria 
and Saxony, and who made Brunsv/ick his resi- 
dence in the twelth century, fortifying and 
adorning it. 

The Duchy of Brunswick embraces three 
detached portions of Country of moderate size, 
inclosed between the kingdom of Hanover and 
the Prussian domains, together with several 


smaller portions of land. The inhabitants of 
this duchy are mostly descended from a branch 
of the ancient Saxons. Personal courage and 
open-heartedness are the leading characteris- 
tics of the Brunswickers. They have the repu- 
tation of being the best situated, in point of 


comfort, of all the German duchies, and the 
appearance of the whole country is indicative 
of good order and prosperity. This is, also, 
one of the best governed States In Europe. 

Duke Ferdinand was a very heroic man. He 
had fought in the " Spanish War of Succes- 
sion," under the Imperial banner, and re- 
ceived a wound from a cannon-ball at the siege 
of Landau. He took part in the war against 
the Turks under Prince Eugene, and there 
won great fame. He also fought with the Im- 
perial troops against France, in the year 1734. 
His large and stately form indicated the hero 
and brave soldier. He was an Industrious 
man, and possessed great goodness and mag- 
nanimity. But, above all, he was a God-fear- 


ing man. The man who knew how to work 
dihgently also knew how to clasp his hands in 
prayer. After he became reigning Duke of 
Brunswick-Wolfenbiittel he relinquished mili- 
tary service. 

Elizabeth Christine's mother, the Duchess 
Antoinette Amelia, was a beautiful and Chris- 
tian woman. She was the daughter of Duke 
Ludwig Rudolph, of Brunswick-Blankenburg. 
The picturesque old palace where she spent her 
youthful days is noted for its legendry. There 
is a picture in it, still to be seen, of the " White 
Lady," whom the superstitious not only be- 
lieved to haunt this old feudal palace, but that 
of Berlin and other royal residences in Ger- 
many. For two years Louis XVIIL, of France, 
found refuge in it. He lived there under the 
name of Comte de Lille, in perpetual fear of 
assassination by the French republicans. 

Elizabeth Christine's grandfather, Duke Ru- 
dolph, had a great love for the arts and sci- 
ences. He was the founder of the Brunswick 


Museum, which now contains many rare speci- 
mens of painting and sculpture. Paintings can 
be seen by such artists as Raphael, Rembrandt, 
Cranach, Holbein, and Teniers. Among the 
leading antiquities are a stone carving of " St. 
John Preaching in the Wilderness," by Albert 
Diirer ; Kosciusko's cup, carved in prison ; Lu- 
ther's marriage ring, and a large number of 
other interesting curiosities. It was Duke 
Rudolph's custom to set apart one evening in 
each week for conversations on different sci- 
entific subjects. On these occasions there 
were always present the most "learned and 
celebrated of the professors and ecclesiastics 
of the capital and of the dukedom. He re- 
quired his children as well as his grandchil- 
dren always to be present during these learned 
conversations. If these youthful grandchildren 
did become thoroughly weary, and occasion- 
ally fell asleep at the entertainments, the con- 
versations certainly made a great impression, 
and awakened within them a desire, when 


older, to increase their knowledge on such 
subjects as they had heard discussed, but were 
too young to understand. 

Lessing, the celebrated German author, spent 
the last ten years of his life at the court of 
Wolfenbiittel, as librarian to the Duke of 
Brunswick. Here Lessing published his " Na- 
than the Wise " and several theological trea- 
tises. The library, of which Lessing was the 
director, contained two hundred and twenty 
thousand volumes, besides the finest missals 
in Europe, manuscripts in various languages, 
and a large number of Bibles, among them 
Luther's Bible, with notes in his own hand- 
writing. Lessing is buried in the small Magni 
Kirchof, and his grave is marked by a simple 
stone. In the Lessing's Platz is a fine statue 
of him by Rietschel. 

When Elizabeth Christine became Queen of 
Prussia she remembered with the greatest 
pleasure those evenings spent in her grandfa- 
ther's salons^ where she met the most distin- 


guished scholars of her country, and whose 
memory she had cherished with the greatest 
admiration. But one of the most delightful 
and sacred events of the youthful remem.- 
brances of Queen Elizabeth Christine was 
when her mother, at one time, lay dangerously 
ill, her father said to her and her sisters and 
brothers, " Children, your mother is very sick ; 
let us pray to God that he may strengthen and 
restore her to health." He then kneeled down 
and prayed with them. A few hours afterward 
he returned joyfully and told them that God 
had heard their prayer, and asked them now 
to thank him with all their hearts. The ex- 
ample of such a father, and the habitual exer- 
cise of family devotion which was carried on 
in that ducal palace, certainly had a great in- 
fluence on the lives of those children. 

Elizabeth Christine was the third child of a 
family of fourteen. She had eight brothers. 
The eldest of them was Duke Carl, who was 

married to the Prussian Princess Philippine 


Charlotte, a daughter of King Frederick Will- 
iam I., and sister of Frederick the Great. He 
had acquired a great reputation, even as a 
prince, by his services to his native land. The 
second brother, Anton Ulrich, married the 
Princess Anna, of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the 
presumptive heiress of the Russian imperial 
throne. But the glory which these marriages 
promised to the House of Brunswick soon 
changed to pain and sorrow. Elizabeth, the 
daughter of Peter the Great, regained the 
throne of which she believed she had been un- 
justly despoiled, and, in consequence of this, 
Anton Ulrich and his wife were exiled to Si- 
beria, at the command of the empress, where 
death put an end to their sorrow and banish- 
ment. Their children, at a later period, were 
brought to Denmark,, where they died disin- 

The third brother, Ludwig Ernst, died as 
Imperial and Dutch General Fieldmarshal, in 
the year 1788. The three brothers, Ferdinand, 


Albert, and Frederick fought under the ban- 
ner of Frederick the Great. The first, Duke 
Ferdinand, was commander-in-chief in West- ' 
phaHa, and acquired, by his victories at Cre- 
feld and Minden, the reputation of being a 
brave and talented general. He died in the 
year 1792, at his chateau of Vechelde, and the 
poor lamented his loss as that of a father. He 
desired the following inscription to be placed 
over his tomb : 

"■ Ferdinand, lord of the manor of Vechelde 
from 1746 to 1792, born at Masthofe, Bruns- 
wick, on the I2th of January, 1721, died July 
the 3d, 1792. A great sinner before God, but 
pardoned through the blood of Jesus Christ, 
his Saviour and Redeemer." 

The tomb of this renowned and pious hero 
may yet be seen at Brunswick in the crypt of 
the cathedral, in the ducal family vault, bear- 
ing the above inscription. Duke Albert fell 
at the battle of Sorr in 1744, and Duke Fred- 
erick Franz in 1758, at Hochkirch, fighting for 


the honor of Prussia. The youngest brothers 
of EHzabeth Christine, the Princes August and 
Frederick William, died in childhood. 

Of her five sisters, the eldest, Louisa Ame- 
lia, was married to Prince August William, 
of Prussia, and became the mother of King 
Frederick William II. The second, Sophie 
Antoinette, married Duke Ernst Frederick, of 
Saxe Coburg. The third, Christine Charlotte 
Louisa, died unmarried. The fourth, Therese 
Natalie, became abbess of Gandersheim, in 
Brunswick — a town lying northward of Got 
tingen ; and Juliane Marie, the fifth sister, be- 
came queen of Denmark by her marriage with 
Frederick V. 

In the quiet life of her parental mansion, 
surrounded by her joyful sisters and brothers, 
Elizabeth Christine grew to womanhood. Un- 
fortunately very little information can be giv- 
en of her early education and development. 
She was confirmed in the Lutheran faith, and 
partook for the first time of the holy commun- 


ion in the spring of 1730. Two years later 
King Frederick William I., of Prussia, selected 
this princess, whose quiet virtues he admired, 
and whose father he greatly esteemed, to be 
the wife of his son Frederick. 


HE imperial house of Austria had 
selected Count von Seckendorf to use 
his influence in directing the attention 
of King Frederick toward a union between 
the Princess Elizabeth Christine, of Brunswick- 
Bevern, who was a niece of the Empress of 
Austria, and his son Frederick, hoping in this 
way to unite the royal families of Prussia and 

The projected double marriage between the 
children of King George II. of England and 
his own children did not at first displease the 
king, provided they were consummated under 
certain conditions. But the indifference of the 
King of England offended the King of Prussia, 
and he finally refused to submit to the condi- 
tions imposed by the former. Consequently, 


at this time, the king was easily influenced. 
While he was favorable to, and accepted, the 
proposition of Count von Seckendorf, Queen 
Sophia was firmly opposed to it, and allowed 
no opportunity to pass without trying to prej- 
udice her son against the person who had been 
selected for his wife. She was aided in her 
opposition to the marriage by her daughter 
Charlotte, and they urged Frederick to speak 
decidedly and firmly to his father. 

The crown prince was still at Ciistrin, where 
he had been sent after his attempt at flight to 
England. By permission of the king he was 
allowed to be present at the marriage of his 
sister Wilhelmina to the crown prince of Bai- 
reuth, which occurred in November, 1731, and 
on this occasion became reconciled with his 
father. After the marriage festivities were 
over he was again conveyed to Ciistrin, where 
he soon afterward received the following letter 
from the king, which exhibits a tender sympa- 
thy for the wayward boy : 


"My dear son Fritz: — It pleases me 
much to know that you need no more medi- 
cine. You must yet guard yourself for a few- 
days from the severe cold, for I and all men are 
fearfully incommoded by rheumatism ; there- 
fore have a care of yourself. You know, my 
dear son, that if my children are obedient, I 
love them very much ; and that when you 
were in Berlin I forgave you from my heart. 
Although from that time I have not seen 
you, I have not thought of any thing but of 
your welfare, and to establish you both in the 
army and with an orderly daughter-in-law. 

" I wish to try and marry you well during 
my lifetime. You may well be persuaded that 
I have had all the princesses in the land ex- 
amined, one after another, as far as possible, 
with reference to their conduct and education, 
and have chosen the eldest princess of Bevern, 
who is well educated, modest, and intelligent, 
as wives should be. You must write your sen- 
timents to me immediately. I have purchased 


the house of von Katsch for the field-marshal. 

who will occupy it as governor, and I will 
have the government-house rebuilt, and fur- 
nished properly for you ; and I will give you 
sufficient to enable you to establish a house- 
hold of your own, and will commend you to 
the army in April. 

" The princess that I have chosen for you is 
neither homely nor beautiful. You need not 
say any thing to any one about it, but write 
to your mamma, and say I have written to 
you on the subject. The marriage cannot 
take place until the coming winter. In the 
meantime there will be an opportunity of 
your seeing the princess, and you can learn 
all that you wish about her. She is a God- 
fearing woman, and that is very necessary to 
your happiness. 

" May God bless you and preserve you a 
good Christian ! Always have the fear of God 
in your mind ; do not believe in any particu- 
lar doctrines ; be obedient and true, so that it 


may go well with you temporally and eternal- 
ly ; and he who wishes that from his heart 
says, Amen. 

'' Your faithful father until death, 

'' Frederick William." 

Frederick only wished for a princess whom 
he could love, and who would harmonize with 
him in mind and sympathy, and this he did 
not expect from the princess who had been 
selected for him. He told General Grumbkow 
from the begiiming that he was ready to 
marry whoever his father might select, if she 
were not awkward and homely; but in a letter 
to the king he submitted himself uncondition- 
ally to his will. 

Meanwhile the princess had arrived in Ber- 
lin on a visit with her parents. General von 
Grumbkow, who saw her, wrote immediately 
to Frederick, describing her in not a very fa- 
vorable light. He did this so that when Fred- 
erick came to see her he might be agreeably 


surprised. This description annoyed Freder- 
ick, and threw him into an almost desperate 
state of mind. He could not think of uniting 
himself for life to a woman who must be in- 
tolerable to him. In this state of mind he 
wrote to the general that he thought that he 
had been punished enough for the errors of 
his youth, and he would not submit to being 
made unhappy for life by marrying a woman 
who, he believed, would be repulsive to 

General Grumbkow, who had been especially 
commissioned by the Court of Vienna to per- 
suade the crown prince to this union, made 
serious representations to him, on account of 
these over-hasty and disobedient assertions. 
He intimated to the prince that he feared 
that the king would renounce him entirely, 
or, at least, that he might fear the heaviest 
displeasure from him if he did not submit to 
this marriage. At the same time he tried in 
every way to inspire him with an admiration 


for the princess, and send him the most favor- 
able reports. 

The king announced to his son the arrival 
of EHzabeth Christine, and gave him directions 
to give up his residence in Ciistrin, and repair 
immediately to Berlin to meet her. The 
prospect of perfect freedom from his former 
banishment had a greater effect on Frederick 
than all ether representations and considera- 
tions. He arrived in Berlin on the appointed 
day, and was introduced to the princess whom 
his father had selected for his future wife. To 
his surprise, she was much more agreeable 
than he had any reason to expect. He wrote 
to his sister : 

'' I do not dislike her as much as I appear 
to. I act displeased, in order to give more 
weight to the obedience of my father. She is 
pretty ; the hue of her face is like the lily and 
the rose ; her features are fine, and, indeed, 
her whole countenance can be called beautiful 
and pleasant. But she has no accomplish- 


ments, and presents an awkward appearance. 
I think, however, when she is established here, 
and has access to refined society, she will 
develop. I commend her to you, my dear 

He spoke to General von Grumbkow of her 
as follows : 

*' I have no repugnance to her. I think she 
has a good heart, and I wish her no evil, but 
I shall never be able to love her." 

The princess was, in truth, if not exactly 
beautiful, at least well developed, and of 
pleasant features ; besides, she was plain, sen- 
sible, well cultivated, and, above all, exceed- 
ingly gentle and kind. She only needed ver- 
satility and self-confidence. 

She was more embarrassed than she was 
aware of when she saw that the queen did not 
receive her with that friendliness that she ex- 
pected, and when the crown prince, to whom 
she gave her hand only at the bidding of her 
parents, met her in a cold and restrained man- 


ner. When she was questioned respecting 
her wishes in the matter, she answered simply 
that she would do whatever her father and 
mother desired, and that the person of the 
crown prince was not disagreeable. She 
hoped in time, by her love and faithfulness, 
to win his heart. 

As King Frederick William was at this time 
in poor health, and the Austrian court feared 
that he might die suddenly, and that the 
crown prince would then break the engage- 
ment, they commissioned their embassador 
to persuade the king to have the marriage 
consummated as soon as possible. The king 
had a great abhorrence to any thing that 
was slow, and entered zealously into their 

The betrothal was celebrated on March lo, 
1732, in the royal palace at Berlin. On the 
evening of this day the king and the queen, 
with the crown prince, their other children, 
and their courtiers, repaired to the room 


which had been assigned in the royal palace 
to the Duchess of Bevern. Besides the par- 
ents of the princess and her two eldest broth- 
ers, the Princes Carl and Anton Ulrich, Duke 
Franz of Lorraine, subsequently the husband 
of Maria Theresa, and Duke Alexander, of 
Wurtemburg, were present, as guests, at these 
festivities. The king, in the name of his son, 
made the proposition of marriage to the par- 
ents of the bride. After their consent the 
whole company repaired to the magnificent 
saloii of the royal palace. There the king 
completed the ceremony by exchanging the 
rings himself. A splendid banquet concluded 
the day. But all this splendor and joyful 
demonstration could not blind the eyes of a 
critical observer. Even Count von Secken- 
dorf, who had brought about this union, pre- 
dicted an unhappy marriage. We can imag- 
ine the feelings of Elizabeth Christine when 
she discovered, by the mien and the whole 
behavior of the crown prince, the repugnance 


with which he submitted himself to the plans 
of his father. On March 22 the king and the 
queen, with all their children, went to Pots- 
dam, and a few days later the Duke and 
Duchess of Bevern, with their daughter, fol- 
lowed them. There the betrothed ones took 
leave of each other, and Elizabeth Christine 
and her parents returned to their own 

The Austrian court and its embassadors 
comforted themselves with the expectation 
that the crown prince and the Princess of 
Bevern would become more attached to each 
other as they became better acquainted. 

After the betrothal the king made his son 
colonel and chief of one of the Goltz regi- 
ments, which afterward bore the name of the 
" Crown Prince's Regiment." As the first 
battalion of this regiment was in garrison at 
Neu-ruppin, he went there to live. The pal- 
ace in which he resided stood near the town- 
wall, and was separated from it by only a gar- 


den. The building had great defects, and the 
king was persuaded later to purchase and re- 
build the beautiful castle of Rheinsberg. 

In Neu-ruppin the crown prince occupied 
himself with the improvement of his regiment 
and the beautifying of the town. He sent in 
reports as to the condition of his regiment 
with great regularity, and kept it in good 
order, increasing it by a number of recruits, 
which assisted to win again the favor of his 
father. Frederick, in a letter to a friend, de- 
scribes how he used to pass the time : 

^' God knows, I live as retired as it is possi- 
ble for me to do. I occupy myself principally 
with matters concerning the regiment, and 
with some other exercises — the economical 
commissions which my father has given me. 
After dinner and parole I generally enjoy my- 
self in reading and music. At seven o'clock I 
assemble with the officers, and spend a pleas- 
ant hour. At eight o'clock I take my supper, 

and at about nine I retire, and that is the 


way I spend one day after another, except 
when the Hamburg post comes. Then I 
have three or four persons in my room, and 
we dine together. The only exercise I have, 
aside from my regiment, is taking a short row 
in a boat, and sometimes throwing a few 
rockets in my garden. That is all in the 
world that I do, and I do not see how I can 
spend my time better in such an obscure 

The king was much annoyed that Frederick 
did not correspond more frequently with his 
betrothed, and reproached him for it. Fred- 
erick excused himself on account of the slow- 
ness of the post, and assured his father that 
he wrote regularly every week to the princess. 
But to General von Grumbkow he wrote quite 
differently : 

"■ My dear General : This morning I re- 
ceived a letter from the king which quite un- 
settled me. The Brunswick princess is always 


the agreeable object concerning which he ex- 
patiates. He wishes to make me fall in love 
by force, but, unfortunately, I fear he will 
not make much headway. He expresses him- 
self in the following manner : ' As I have 
learned that you do not write to your princess 
with due attention, I desire that you give me 
the reason for your conduct. I desire that you 
write to her much more frequently.' I have 
answered him that a fortnight has passed 
since she has written to me, and that it is but 
eight days since I wrote my last letter, and 
that I, therefore, can give him no reason ; but 
the truth is, that I lack matter to write about, 
and often I do not know how I shall fill a side 
of a sheet. ... I wish my father would bear in 
mind how the marriage was arranged for me 
nolens volens, and that my liberty was the price 
of it. . . . 

" I am beside myself because I must marry, 
but I will make a virtue of necessity and do 
it. I will keep my word. Now judge, dear 


general, if I am the stuff out of which good 
husbands are made. You will see that this 
manner of proceeding can only cause unpleas- 
antness, and that a man gets all the more dis- 
inclination against a thing the more he imag- 
ines that he is becoming reconciled to it. 

" I beg your pardon, my dear general, for 
troubling you with my affairs, which are as 
unpleasant to me as they are to you." 

This letter completely unfolded the unwill- 
ingness with which the crown prince had 
reconciled himself to his approaching mar- 
riage. Although Queen Sophia had really 
not yet abandoned her cherished plan of unit- 
ing Frederick to his Cousin Amelia, and was 
using every strategy to accomplish her pur- 
pose, she nevertheless told General von 
Grumbkow '' that she would have every care 
for her future daughter-in-law, and although 
she had not had very good training, she had 
a good character, and the rest she would find ; 


and that her interest and confidence would 
never fail her.'* 

Elizabeth Christine probably little antici- 
pated the gloomy clouds that had already 
begun to overcast the future of her life. She 
received and replied to the letters of the 
crown prince with all ingenuousness and in- 
offensiveness. She occasionally made him a 
small present of the productions of her own 
country, and comforted herself with the hope, 
which her good and loving heart unfolded to 
her, that they would finally be happy to- 

Her future father-in-law, the king, the only 
one in the court of Berlin who wished her 
well, contributed in no small degree to 
strengthen this hope. While at Aschersle- 
ben, near Wolfenbiittel, before the marriage, 
he wrote to her as follows : 

*' Madame : As I am so near your highness 
I cannot allow the duke to depart without 


humbling myself at your feet, while I hope 
that you are well, and I wish soon to embrace 
you in my own home. We will do all in our 
power to make our dear princess contented 
with us. Accept the inclosed gift as a re- 
membrance for my dear princess, whom I 
highly esteem, and welcome into my family 
with joy. 

'' I am convinced that my son will prove 
himself worthy to share your heart, and I can 
give you the assurance that I am perfectly 
satisfied with his conduct. I beg your high- 
ness to give my humble compliments to her 
highness, your worthy and dear mother. Be 
assured that I esteem you with my whole heart, 
and that I shall remain until death 

" Your affectionate father, 

'' Frederick William." 

It will scarcely seem credible that the Aus- 
trian court, after having used every means in 
its power to effect a betrothal between the 


Crown Prince of Prussia and -the Princess of 
Bevern, should suddenly and unexpectedly 
wish to have it annulled. But this was the 
case. The Vienna Cabinet, having become 
friendly in its relations toward England, had 
in view to sacrifice the Princess Elizabeth 
Christine to this friendship. They aimed to 
unite the Crown Prince of Prussia with his 
cousin Amelia, and the Prince of Wales to 
Elizabeth Christine, of Bevern. The impend- 
ing marriage was, as is customary, announced 
to the European courts. At the time of this 
occurrence the King and Queen of Prussia had 
arrived at the castle of Salzdahlum, a few miles 
from Wolfenbiittel, May, 1773, in order to 
complete the marriage contract of their son 
with the Bevern princess. 

Count von Seckendorf communicated in 
person the new plan of the Vienna court, at 
the same time delivering to the king a letter 
from Prince Eugene respecting it. It can 
easily be imagined how that honest and sturdy 


king received the news of this diplomatic arti- 
fice. His anger knew no bounds, and he op- 
posed it in the severest manner. He rephed, 
" If I did not know Prince Eugene to be an 
honest man, I should think he dreamed." He 
returned the letter of the prince to the count, 
with the direction to return it to his cabinet, 
and to apprise the court that he, for no ad- 
vantage whatever, would be induced to fasten 
such a blot upon his word and honor as to an- 
nul a marriage contract which was to be con- 
summated in twenty-four hours. By this firm 
answer, alike worthy of a king and a man of 
honor, the unprincipled scheme of the court of 
Vienna was brought to shame, and the mar- 
riage contract was concluded. 


/#^^(|N the 1 2th of May, 1733, in the royal 
3^^^ palace of Elizabeth Christine's grand- 
^^j£\ father — one of the grandest ducal pal- 
aces in Germany — at Salzdahlum, near Wolf- 
enbiittel, the marriage contract was formally 
and festally arranged. The old Duke Ludwig 
Rudolph promised to pay to his granddaugh- 
ter, Elizabeth Christine, within a year and one 
day, a dowry of twenty-five thousand thalers, 
and, besides, to provide her with a princely 
wardrobe, jewels, ornaments, silver-plate, and 
other appliances of the same nature which 
were necessary to his princely house. 

It was here decided that the household of 
Elizabeth Christine should consist of a house- 
keeper, two maids of honor, a steward, a gen- 


tleman-in-waiting, a secretary, two pages, two 
valets, three lackeys, two waiting women, a 
seamstress, and a laundress, as well as a maid 
for the housekeeper, and a lackey and a maid 
for the maids of honor. The engaging and 
salarying, as well as the discharging of serv- 
ants, was placed in the power of the princess, 
with the express condition that no person 
could be engaged or discharged against the 
will of the king or the crown-prince. 

King Frederick, also, settled a legacy of 
twenty-five thousand thalers upon Elizabeth 
Christine, and ordered that it should be added 
to her dowry, making fifty thousand thalers ; 
and that from this sum ten per cent, should 
be given to her as an annuity in case of wid- 
owhood. This sum the king promised, under 
certain conditions, to increase by the addition 
of nine thousand thalers, making fourteen 
thousand thalers in all. Further, she should 
receive twenty thousand thalers in case of 
widowhood. This sum the king made payable 


to his daughter-in-law in the town and office 
of Ruppin, which place he selected as her resi- 
dence, if the crown-prince were to die before 
she did. 

After all of these courtly formalities were 
completed the marriage was solemnly conse- 
crated in the chapel of the palace, at eight 
o'clock in the evening, by the Abbot of Dreis- 
sigmark. The sound of drums and trumpets, 
and the booming of cannon, accompanied the 
conclusion of the sacred ceremony, which was 
followed by a magnificent banquet. The 
grandfather of Elizabeth Christine, the aged 
Duke Ludwig Rudolph, had exerted himself 
to the utmost to have the marriage of his 
granddaughter celebrated with a splendor 
commensurate with her rank. 

On the following Sunday, the 14th of May, 
the distinguished Abbot Mosheim, author of 
the well-known '' Ecclesiastical History," gave 
a benedictory address. His discourse was on 
the blessing of the Lord on the marriage 


of the righteous, from the following lines : 
*' Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, 
that delighteth greatly in his commandments. 
His seed shall be mighty upon the earth : the 
generation of the upright shall be blessed." 
Unfortunately, the royal auditors did not take 
much interest in this long and elaborate dis- 
course, but gladly hastened to the festivities 
which awaited them, and which concluded the 
wedding ceremonials at Brunswick. These 
were two Italian operas, Lo Epechio della Fe- 
delta, (The Mirror of Fidelity,) by Graun, and 
the Parthenope, by Handel, together with the 
comedy Le Glorieux, by Destouches. There 
was nothing wanting in splendor to render this 
royal marriage one of the most, if not the 
most, magnificent of the times in which it 

On the Tuesday following the marriage the 
king and queen returned to Berlin, in order to 
prepare for the reception of their daughter-in- 
law. The crown-prince left at the same time 


to bring his regiment from Neu-ruppin, that 
it might be present at the approaching 
festivities to be given in honor of himself 
and his bride. Elizabeth Christine, with her 
parents and grandparents, followed slowly aft- 
er them. 

On the 20th of May they were received on 
the frontier by the nobility of Magdeburg, and 
entered Potsdam on the 24th of June. The 
king and the crown prince, as well as the son- 
in-law of the king, the hereditary Prince of 
Baireuth, accompanied by a great number of 
generals and officers, rode out to meet the 
young bride. The queen and the princesses 
received them at the entrance of the royal 
palace. The king then led his daughter-in- 
law into the room of the queen, and com- 
manded his son to accompany her to her own 
apartments. Wilhelmina, the sister of the 
crown-prince, accompanied them. Elizabeth 
Christine now saw her sister-in-law for the first 
time, and was introduced to her by her brother 


in the following language, which we find in 
Wilhelmina's '' Memoirs :" '' This is a sister I 
adore, and am obliged to beyond measure. She 
is so good as to promise me that she will take 
care of you, and assist you with her good ad- 
vice. I wish you to respect her even beyond 
the king and queen, and never to do the least 
thing until you have consulted with her. Do 
you understand ? " 

'' I embraced the princess," Wilhelmina 
relates, " and assured her of my attach- 
ment. As no waiting-maid was in the room, 
I repowdered her face myself, and arranged 
her dress a little more becomingly. She 
gave no sign of thanks, and made no re- 
sponse to my caresses, doubtless owing to her 
great embarrassment. My brother became 
impatient and spoke harshly to her, bidding 
her thank me. Without a word she looked 
me in the face, and made a profound courtesy. 
Not much pleased with such a display of gen- 
ius, I took her back to the queen's apart- 


ment." * Wilhelmina did not abandon her 
prote'gd. She gives herself great credit, how- 
ever, for having done her utmost to polish 
this rough diamond presented to her as a 

We may imagine the feelings of the young 
bride, who could not fail to see how- she was 
esteemed at the Prussian court, and with what 
indifference she was there received. 

As the cherished plan of Queen Sophia's 
life had been frustrated in this marriage, it 
could not be expected that she could have 
much affection for her new daughter — indeed, 
she treated her very rudely. The crown- 
prince tried to conceal the fact as much as 
possible that his young wife was forced upon 
him by his father, and endeavored to conduct 
himself with as much dignity as possible. 

The king was the only one in the royal fam- 
ily who manifested a hearty and friendly good- 

"^Memoires de Frederique Sophie Wilhelmina de Prusse, 
Margrave de B air tit h. London, 1812. 


will toward her. He knew how to value her 
good qualities, although he considered her a 
child who needed to receive much instruction. 
Wilhelmina, the Margravine of Baireuth, gives, 
in her " Memoires," the following description 
of her sister-in-law : *' The crown-princess is 
large, and of bad form and manners ; her face 
is of dazzling white, and this complexion is 
heightened by the loveliest color ; her eyes are 
of a pale blue, and do not bespeak much spirit 
or animation ; her mouth is small ; all her feat- 
ures are fine, without being beautiful. Tak- 
ing her face as a whole, it is so charming and 
child-like that one would almost think the head 
belonged to a child of twelve years. Her hair 
is blonde, and curls naturally ; her teeth are 
discolored, and very irregular. She has very 
little grace, and is awkward in conversation — 
so much so, that one is obliged to anticipate 
what she wishes to say, which produces much 

On the day following their reception in 


Potsdam the king had a review of the great 
royal regiment In the presence of his guests, 
which was very Imposing. After dinner he 
and the crown-prince returned to Berhn, while 
the other princely personages, and among 
them the young bride, repaired to Charlot- 

On Saturday, the 27th of June, the crown- 
princess made her entrance into the capital 
through the Brandenburg gate, amid the boom- 
ing of cannon, and with an escort of sixty 
State carriages, each being drawn by six pairs 
of horses. At five o'clock in the afternoon the 
cortege arrived at the royal palace, where din- 
ner was served. At nine o'clock in the even- 
ing the king and queen, as well as the whole 
royal court, accompanied the crown-princess 
to her palace, opposite the arsenal. 

The day following being Sunday, the royal 
family attended St. Peter's Church, which had 
been rebuilt, and was on this occasion solemn- 
ly re-consecrated. In the evening the crown- 


princess received, in her palace, the clergy and 
the royal and the municipal authorities of 
Berlin. Although this finished the ceremonies 
connected with the marriage, the festivities 
which awaited her in the court were not yet 
ended. Only three days later, July I, the 
marriage of her eldest brother, the hereditary 
Prince Karl, of Brunswick, with the sister of 
her husband, Princess Philippine Charlotte, 
was celebrated with great pomp and renewed 
festivities, and the young bride must again 
appear in public with her royal relatives. 

It may well be imagined that Elizabeth 
Christine, in the midst of all these gay sur- 
roundings, longed sometimes for the quietness 
of her early home, where she could have that 
freedom that it was not possible for her to 
have in her new situation. The vows that 
she had solemnly taken before the altar, and 
the obligations that she had pledged, severed 
all the ties that had been so dear and precious 
to her in childhood. Her greatest and most 


sacred desire now was to win the heart of her 
husband, which she hoped to do by tender, 
devoted, and faithful love. She gladly ac- 
companied Frederick from Berlin to his head- 
quarters at Neu-ruppin, where they spent the 
most of their time until they went to occupy 
the castle at Rheinsberg. The uniform quiet 
of Elizabeth Christine's rural life at Neu rup- 
pin was interrupted only by occasional jour- 
neys. She visited the king at Wusterhausen 
in the fall of 1733, and was received by him 
with great friendliness. On her return home 
she wrote to him how much pleasure her visit 
had given her, and expressed to him the 
gratitude that she felt in being so kindly 
received. Accompanying this letter were 
several delicacies for his majesty's table, 
which the princess had prepared herself. The 
king received these tokens of love with more 
than ordinary pleasure, but what gratified him 
most was the assurance that his daughter-in- 
law had overcome her first unfavorable im- 


pressions, and was happy in conducting her 
household at Neu-ruppin. 

In January of the following year she visited 
Wolfenbiittel. How long she remained in her 
childhood's home is not known. We find, 
however, that in April she was again in Neu- 
ruppin, and can find no record that she ever 
again visited her paternal home. 

The crown-prince at this time was engaged 
in the campaign on the Rhine, under the lead- 
ership of Prince Eugene. The remainder of 
the time, with the exception of the annual 
revenue journey, on which he always accom- 
panied his father, he spent in company with 
his wife, either at Neu-ruppin or Berlin. 


"OON after the marriage of the crown- 
3) prince King Frederick presented him 
with the charming old castle of Rheins- 
berg, with money sufficient to properly refit it. 
He was successful, with the sum appropriated, 
in having the grounds and castle beautifully 

A historian who saw it about the time of 
its completion gives the following description 
of it : 

*' The position of this old feudal castle is 
delightful. A great lake almost washes its 
walls on one side, and on the other side of it 
there is a beautiful amphitheater of woods 
of oak and beech. The old castle consisted 
only of a main building with a wing, at the 
end of which stood an old, dilapidated tower. 


The principal edifice was improved and beau- 
tified by arches, statues, and all manner of 
adornments that ingenuity could furnish. On 
the other side a wing and tower were built, 
and these two towers were united by a double 
row of columns adorned with statuary. By 
these arrangements the whole took the form 
of a quadrangle. At the entrance there is a 
bridge, decorated with statues, which serve as 
supports for lamps. One enters the court by 
a beautiful portal, over which is placed the 
words: Friderico tranquillitatem colenti. 

" The interior of the edifice is most mag- 
nificent. In every direction that one may 
turn he sees frescoing, sculpture, and paint- 
ing, which has been done by the most emi- 
nent artists. As the crown-prince loved only 
delicate colors, his taste was minutely ob- 
served. The furniture and drapery are of a 
delicate violet, a^ure, light green, or flesh color, 
enchased with silver. The library is unique. 
It is situated in one of the towers, and there is 


nothing wanting to it that the arts could fur- 
nish. The frescoing was done by the cele- 
brated Pesne, the favorite of Frederick. From 
one of the windows one commands a view of 
the lake, with its little tufted islands — Remus 
Island, much noted, among them. The lake 
is lovely, lying between you and the sunset, 
with perhaps some other lakelet, or solitary 
pool in the wilderness, many miles away, ' re- 
vealing itself as a cup of molten gold.' The 
library does not contain a very large number, 
but a well-selected collection, of the best 
French and German authors. The bookcases 
are inclosed in glass, and decorated with the 
most exquisite gilt carving. A life-sized por- 
trait of Voltaire hangs in the room. He is 
the favorite of the crown-prince, but he has a 
great admiration for all the best French poets 
and writers. 

" Elizabeth Christine's apartments are ex- 
ceedingly beautiful, the anteroom especially. 
This room is twenty-five feet in height, and 


contains six windows, three of them in the 
main front, looking toward the town, the 
other three toward the interior court. The 
light from these windows is heightened by 
mirrors covering the piers or interspaces of 
the walls to an uncommonly high degree, and 
shows the frescoing on the ceiling to great 
perfection. Pesne has succeeded in putting 
on his colors so softly, and with such delicate 
skill, that the light sunbeams seem to prolong 
themselves into the painted clouds and air, 
and it seems as if it were the real sky you 
had over your head. There, in that cloud- 
region, * Mars is being disarmed by the Love- 
goddesses, and they are sporting with his 
weapons. He stretches out his arm toward 
the goddesses, who look upon him with fond 
glances. Cupids are spreading out a draping.* 
"Weapon-festoons, in bass-relief, gilt, adorn 
the walls of this room, and there are two pict- 
ures, which represent in life-size the king and 
queen, Frederick William and Sophia. Over 


each of the doors you see in low-relief the 
profiles of Hannibal, Pompey, Scipio, and 
Gsesar, introduced as medallions. 

" While it seems impossible to surpass this 
room in artistic beauty, there is still another 
salon which connoisseurs pronounce almost 
an ideal. The representation on this ceiling 
of the Music Salon, is ' Black Night making 
off, with all her sickly dews, at one end of the 
ceiling, and at the other end, the steeds of 
Phoebus bursting forth — with cupids, love- 
goddesses, war-gods, not omitting Bacchus 
and his vines.' The main avenue is finished 
with an obelisk, after the Egyptian style, con- 
taining hieroglyphics. Grottoes, pavilions, 
orangeries, artificial ruins, hermitages, arbors, 
and rustic seats are arranged in the most per- 
fect taste. The crown-prince has two pleasure- 
boats on the lake to convey his friends to the 
edge of the wood." 

This castle was so far completed in 1736 
that it could be occupied. The king and 


queen then made an inaugural visit, and re- 
mained in it for several days, finding great 
amusement and pleasure in fishing, hunting, 
and other sports. Up to this time the crown- 
prince and Elizabeth Christine had divided 
their time between Berlin and Neu-ruppin. 
During these first years of their married life 
they seemed happy. 

The crown-prince gave the most of his time 
to earnest study and pleasant amusements. 
He thus described his mode of life to his friend, 
the Privy Counselor von Suhm : '' I do not 
fear displeasing you if I say a few words about 
our rural pastimes ; for he whom one loves he 
wishes to make acquainted with the most im- 
portant events of his life. We have divided 
our occupation into two classes — useful and 
pleasant. Among the useful I reckon the 
study of philosophy, history, and the lan- 
guages. Among the pleasant are music, com- 
edy, and tragedy, which we find necessary for 
the entertainment of our guests. Solid and 


earnest occupations, however, have the prefer- 
ence, and I can say candidly, that we only 
make a reasonable use of pleasures, since they 
serve as a relaxation from the earnestness 
of philosophy, w^hich cannot easily bring the 
graces to a friendly face." 

A few months later he wrote to the same 
friend : " My house is not a place where one 
can enjoy himself with the bustle of the out- 
side world. Are not quiet and a seeking after 
truth much to be preferred to the noisy and 
vain pleasures of the world ? I have never 
spent such happy days as I am now spending 

In the following year he wrote to his friend, 
Colonel Camas : " The report which I would 
make to you of what has befallen us during 
the last four months would not be very inter- 
esting. The events during that time have had 
no variety. You would see a man on every 
side with his nose chained to his book ; you 
would see him leave this now and again in 


order to take up his pen, and then exchange 
these employments for the flute. Such a pict- 
ure is never wanting, so that there is not 
much to excite desire, or stir up envy. To 
tell the truth, I scarcely know what kind of 
weather we are having. The circle of my act- 
ivity stretches no farther than from my cham- 
ber to my writing-desk. I am the only one 
in our circle who does not enjoy hunting. In- 
deed, I study for the whole company ; thus 
each one is satisfied and no one deprived of 
his pleasure." 

In 1738 he wrote to his teacher, M. Duhan : 
" I am more than ever buried among my 
books. I strive to redeem the time which I 
lost so thoughtlessly in my youth, and am 
collecting, as far as I can, all the information 
in my power. I am striving to acquire that 
knowledge which is necessary for me to dis- 
charge worthily all the duties that devolve 
upon me in my position. I wish to store my 
mind with all that is excellent in both ancient 


and modern history, with every part of which 
I wish to be perfectly famiUar." 

Besides earnest study, which the crown- 
prince describes to his friends, he and Eliza- 
beth Christine found time for social enjoy- 
ment. A participator in these pleasures writes 
of them as follows: **A11 those who live in the 
castle enjoy an unlimited freedom as to the 
selection of their occupations and pleasures. 
We see the prince and princess only at table, 
at play, or on other occasions of recreation in 
which they participate. Each thinks, reads, 
paints, designs, plays an instrument, writes, 
and enjoys or occupies himself or herself in 
their room. The conversation of the prince at 
table is interesting and elevating. He talks 
much and well. When dinner is finished all 
the gentleman repair to the room of one of the 
ladies, who prepare coffee alternately, from 
the chief house-keeper to the strangers. The 
whole court assemble in the room of the one 
whose day it is to serve the coffee. There 


they chat, arrange plays, promenade, and enjoy 
a pleasant hour together. The crown-prince 
and princess take their coffee together in their 
own room. The evenings are generally devot- 
ed to music. The prince has concerts in his 
own apartments, to which no one has admit- 
tance without an invitation, and such an invi- 
tation is considered a great favor. He general- 
ly plays a sonata on the flute, which instrument 
he plays to perfection. He is particularly fond 
of all kind of amusements, except hunting, 
which he holds in abhorrence. In this man- 
ner we pass our days in peace and happiness. 
The royal table, English music, delightful 
promenades in the gardens and meadows, sail- 
ing parties, the fine arts and sciences, and in- 
tellectual conversation, are united in order to 
give a charm to life in this enchanted castle." 
Elizabeth Christine had but one desire, and 
that was to live according to the pleasure of 
her husband. She followed his inclination and 
wishes even in her occupations. She was ac- 


customed from childhood to listening to the 
conversation of men of culture and refinement, 
being much of her time at her grandfather's 
court. But Voltaire was scarcely known at 
Wolfenbiittel, and many authors whom her 
husband and his suite were perfectly familiar 
with she had never heard of. Thus the court 
life at Brunswick was quite different from 
that at Rheinsberg. 

Christine exerted herself, however, out of 
love for her husband, to become familiar with 
whatever subject she thought would be pleas- 
ing to him. She received instruction in the 
French language, and her teacher advised and 
procured for her those authors who were at 
this time the most popular. 

She read the most celebrated writers of an- 
tiquity, as is proved by her later literary la- 
bors, and did not remain unacquainted with 
the philosophical studies of her husband. It 
is not known whether she understood music, 
but that she had a great fondness for art is 


shov/n by her paintings. She was able to 
sketch with great accuracy, but excelled espe- 
cially in landscape painting. She could also 
make a correct portrait of any person whom 
she admired. 

The years spent at Rheinsberg were cer- 
tainly the happiest of her married, and, indeed, 
of her whole, life. If the crown-prince did not 
love his wife he manifested toward her, at this 
time, the greatest friendship and esteem. He 
said at one tim.e to Count von Seckendorf : " I 
never loved her, but I should be the wicked- 
est man in the world if I did not respect her, 
for she is of a gentle disposition, as docile as 
a child, and yielding and complaisant to a 
fault, while she anticipates me in whatever can 
give me pleasure." 

Elizabeth Christine had changed very much 
to her advantage in her new surroundings, and 
it is evident that this change had a favorable 
influence on the crown-prince. Baron von 
Bielfeld, who first met her in Rheinsberg, de- 


scribes her in a confidential letter to a friend : 
" The crown princess is large and well made. 
I have never seen one whose form is so well- 
proportioned in every respect. She might 
serve a painter as a model. Her hair, which 
I specially noticed, is of a most beautiful ash- 
color ; it is somewhat blonde, and, when pow- 
dered, it gleams like pearls. Her countenance 
is of a delicate tint, and she has great blue 
eyes of a soft and lively expression, but which 
can be very fiery if animated. She has an 
open forehead, regular eyebrows, a small and 
somewhat pointed, though well-formed, nose, 
a pleasant mouth, red lips, and a chin and 
neck which are charming. Goodness gleams 
in her countenance, and one might say with 
justice that her whole form had been put to- 
gether by the hands of the graces for the pur- 
pose of making a great princess. Even the 
little negligences which are occasionally no- 
ticed in her dress and demeanor do not affect 

her appearance. 


" There is not a princess in Europe who 
possesses more beautiful diamonds, and there 
are certainly none who know better how to 
use them. She talks very little, especially at 
table, but what she does say is full of mean- 
ing. She appears to possess an acute under- 
standing, which she improves by constant read- 
ing of the best French authors. Frau von 
Katsch, her chief maid, has assured me that 
her heart is pure and her character heavenly. 
Every moment she manifests qualities which 
delight me. Her deportment is at the same 
time majestic, deliberate, and yet perfectly 


HI HE crown-prince at this time en- 
r^_A tertained a warm affection for his 
wife. When traveling he wrote fre- 
quent and friendly letters to her, and imparted 
confidential commissions. It was evident that, 
by her continual devotion, she had won an in- 
fluence over him. Whenever a misunder- 
standing threatened to arise between Freder- 
ick and his father this influence was never ex- 
erted in vain to bring about a reconciliation. 
At one time, when there was a misunderstand- 
ing between them, she wrote to the king : 
*' The greatest favor that your majesty can 
show to me is that of being merciful to my 
husband, your son. He has written to me 
concerning the trouble which your displeasure 
has given him, and he does not know in what 


manner he has merited it. I do pray you to 
forgive him, for I can assure you that he loves 
you most sincerely, and that he will try to 
conduct himself according to the will of your 

On another occasion, when the king had 
made the crown-prince a present of a very 
valuable horse, the crown-princess wrote her 
father-in-law : 

*' I herewith humbly thank your majesty for 
the favor that you have shown my husband 
by presenting him with such a valuable horse. 
He has written me about it, and is overcome 
with thankfulness for the favors which you are 
continually bestowing upon him. . . . You will 
always find in him a gentle, obedient, and de- 
voted son. He truly merits the favors you 
confer upon him by the affection which I am 
well aware that he has for so kind a father, 
and I humbly beg your majesty to do him the 
justice which he deserves, and be convinced 
that he is devoted to your majesty with all 


tenderness and esteem, and that he possesses 
nothing but that grateful love which a true 
son should bear to so kind and upright a 

These letters throw a light upon the friend- 
ly and tender relations which at that time 
existed between the crown-prince and Eliza- 
beth Christine, and which rendered her resi- 
dence at Rheinsberg delightful. She ex- 
presses her happiness to her royal father-in- 
law in a letter written a short time after they 
had taken possession of this castle : 

*' My residence in Rheinsberg is as pleasant 
to me as it possibly can be in the company of 
him who is to me the dearest object on earth. 
I cannot become weary in the society of him 
I love above all others. My greatest pleasure 
is, when the weather is fine, to take a walk, a 
drive, or a sail on the lake with him ; other- 
wise I spend the time in work, for I occupy 
myself the whole day. I find that my health 
is better in the country than in the town. 


Rural life Is more congenial to my taste, 
and I prefer it to all the enjoyments of town 

In the spring of 1736 the crown-princess vis- 
ited Schonhausen without the slightest idea 
that this palace at a later period was to be the 
limit of her lonely life. 

An amusing incident, and one which fur- 
nished the little court of Rheinsberg with 
gossip for a long time, is told of the king 
when on a visit to his children in the spring 
of 1737. As is well known, his majesty was a 
very devout Christian in his way, and would 
never neglect an opportunity of attending di- 
vine worship. Having arrived at Rheinsberg 
early on Whitsunday, and before paying his 
respects to the inmates of the castle, or giving 
any publicity to his arrival, he went imme- 
diately to church. The good old preacher, 
Pastor Johann Rossow, who was preach- 
ing, was so frightened at the entrance of this 
distinguished auditor that he almost lost 


his power of speech, and was only able to 
conclude his sermon as rapidly as possible, 
and give the benediction with a trembling 

The king was so enraged at such timidity 
that he threatened to use his cane upon the 
frightened man, but it may easily be supposed 
that this threat totally failed in producing the 
desired effect. 

In the years 1738 and 1739 Elizabeth 
Christine and the crown-prince often visited 
Berlin, and participated in the feasts and en- 
joyments which the court and the great city 
afforded them. How happy those six years 
were for this princess is proved by the pleas- 
ure with which, to the latest period of her 
life, she recalled those golden days. When in 
her seventy-first year, the day before the 
death of her husband, she spoke to Monsieur 
Mirabeau, who was visiting her, of the de- 
lightful days at Rheinsberg, and of the happi- 
ness which she enjoyed there. 


In one of the rooms in the castle at Schon- 
hausen, which is shown to strangers as her 
sleeping-room, hangs a picture of Rheinsberg 
Castle. How often in later years did her eyes 
rest upon this painting, recalling the happy 
years spent within its walls ! 

The happiness of Elizabeth Christine was 
greatly increased by the continued and un- 
changed love that her father-in-law constantly 
exhibited toward her. He very often sur- 
prised and delighted her with small presents 
of game and other delicacies for her table, 
and with carriages to make a winter tour, to 
Berlin. He never failed to remember her 
birthday, always writing a kindly letter of 
congratulation, and often making her on these 
occasions very valuable presents. Requests 
and petitions which she occasionally sent to 
him for her friends, or even strangers, were 
generally complied with, if it were at all pos- 
sible. How much the king loved and es- 
teemed his daughter-in-law will be proved in 


the following extracts from his last letters to 
her : 

" I have had the honor to receive your kind 
letter, and was much affected by the proof of 
your tender love and the interest which you 
take in the restoration of my health. As I 
know the uprightness of your heart, I feel all 
the more united to you, and I beg you to be 
convinced that your happiness and content- 
ment will always be among the foremost 
wishes of my heart." 

On the day of his death he wrote : 
■ " I have had the honor of receiving your 
last letter, and you must have the goodness 
to believe that this proof of your inestimable 
love for me has rejoiced me exceedingly. I 
am greatly indebted to you for your tender 
sympathy, which you manifest toward me 
when my life is in danger. If God, in his 
goodness, does not hear your prayer, you will 
lose a father who loves you more than he can 


Queen Sophia appears to have become 
slightly reconciled to her daughter-in-law. 
The letters which she wrote at this time do 
not exhibit a cold courtesy, but a tolerably 
intimate and affectionate relationship. On 
account of the queen's opposition to this 
marriage it was feared that Elizabeth Chris- 
tine would suffer much embarrassment, and 
lead a very unhappy life. But the careful 
training which she received in her youthful 
days, and the strict obedience which she was 
taught to render to the wise counsels of her 
parents, now bore rich and beautiful fruit. A 
letter from her father, the Duke of Brunswick, 
shows the anxiety that he had for her in this 
respect : 

'' The manner in which you conduct your- 
self toward their majesties the king and queen 
of Prussia, and the crown prince, your hus- 
band, and, indeed, all of those with whom you 
come in contact, is truly very beautiful, and 
excites the admiration of all Berlin, as well as 


of all those who are related to you and love 
you most dearly. Continue in this Avay, my 
dear daughter, and God will not fail to bless 
you and to make you always as happy as you 
in this manner deserve to be." 

Unfortunately Elizabeth Christine was not 
to enjoy the tender love and wise counsel of 
this dear father much longer. The Duke of 
Brunswick died suddenly on the 3d of Sep- 
tember, 1735. This was the saddest event 
that disturbed the happiness of those days. 
Her husband helped to assuage her grief as 
well as he possibly could. She was in Berlin 
when she received the unwelcome intelligence, 
but the crown-prince was absent, and wrote 
immediately the following to his father : 

" I have just received the information that 
my dear father-in-law, the Duke of Brunswick, 
is dead. I thought I should have died from 
fright, as we did not even know that he was 
ill. I fear my wife will be very deeply affected 
by these unexpected tidings, and I beg of you. 


my most gracious father, that you will allow 
me to come immediately to Berlin to comfort 

The king naturally permitted this journey, 
and in a few days the crown-prince was with 
his wife. He wrote, on his arrival, to his fa- 
ther that he would exert himself to the best 
of his ability to have the princess become rec- 
onciled to her great loss and to the will of 
God, and to help her submit with patience to 
this severe affliction. 

If Elizabeth Christine then learned to bear 
this painful loss patiently, it was certainly a 
great comfort to her later to know that her 
father, whom she loved so devotedly, died 
with the conviction that her marriage was a 
happy one. A few years subsequently he 
would have been convinced, to his great sor- 
row, to the contrary. 


!^oaih of King !lft|e4ei:|ic)^. 

iS'Mr^^HILE the Crown Princess Elizabeth 
Christine was mourning over the death 
of her father, who had been her faithful guide, 
she felt that she would soon be deprived also 
of her father-in-law, King Frederick, who had 
been, since her marriage, her truest friend and 
counselor. The health of the king had been 
for a long time in a precarious condition, but 
early in the year of 1740 he became so m.uch 
worse that his life was despaired of. When he 
knew that he had but a few days to live, he 
summoned to his side his son and his old gen- 
erals, who had done more to serve him in his 
imperial council-chamber than they had on the 

He made an impressive and sensible address 
to his son on the duties of a sovereign toward 


his subjects, and then, reverting to recollec- 
tions of the past, he warmly thanked the vet- 
erans for their faithfulness to him. It must 
be known that this austere but conscientious 
father had forgiven his son for his boyish er- 
rors more entirely than he had forgiven him- 
self. The king had now become fond and 
proud of Frederick, and took paternal pleas- 
ure in recognizing his remarkable capabilities 
and his military talents. He often spoke to 
those about him of the gratitude he felt in 
thinking that he should leave the kingdom to 
so worthy a successor. It can plainly be seen 
that it grieved the king to think that he had 
lowered his son in the estimation of the world, 
and he tried to do all that he could to repair 
the error. 

From a window in the king's room the royal 
stables could be seen. After King Frederick 
had expressed his gratitude to his old friends, 
he ordered some of his horses to be led out. 
He told his generals that they must each 


choose one, " for," said he, " it is my last gift 
to you." To the Prince of Anhalt Dessau he 
said : " It is just that you, my oldest friend, 
should have the best horse ; but you have 
chosen the worst. Take the other ; T war- 
rant him a good one." Then, looking on 
the time-worn faces of these brave soldiers, 
and seeing their hard struggle with deep 
grief, he said, " Nay, nay, it is a debt we all 
must pay." 

To the last moment he was deeply sensible 
of his condition. Feeling quite unequal to 
the responsibilities which rested upon him, he 
desired to abdicate, and insisted upon doing 
so. He was told that the necessary legal 
documents should first be prepared. As he 
was then failing fast, every body about him 
saw that abdication was not necessary. His 
last thoughts rested not in justice but in 
mercy ; feeling his great need of Divine pro- 
tection, he sought it at the Fountain Head. 
*' Lord Jesus, in thee I live ; Lord Jesus, in 


thee I die ; in life and death thou art mine ;" 
were Frederick William's last words. 

He died on May 31, and was buried at mid- 
night on June 4, 1740. He had looked upon 
the strong oak casket before he closed his 
eyes in death, and had dictated how it was to 
be conveyed to the vaulted chamber beneath 
the pulpit in the Garrison Church, which had 
been prepared to receive it. That fine church 
had been completed five years before, as can 
be seen by the date over the main entrance : 
A. D. 1735. 

Twelve tall captains of the Potsdam Guards 
bore the remains of the deceased monarch to 
the appointed resting-place, and that favorite 
regiment fired the farewell volley. This was 
their last service. The regiment was imme- 
diately disbanded after the death of the 

Immediately after the death of the king the 

* Cf. Hudson, " Life and Times of Louisa, Queen of Prus- 
sia," vol. i, pp. 93, 95, 96. 


dowager queen dispatched a messenger to 
Rheinsberg to convey the sad intelHgence to 
EHzabeth Christine. The young king had 
also sent a written message, beseeching his 
wife to come immediately to Berlin. The 
court ladies were at first embarrassed as to 
how they should communicate the painful 
tidings to their new queen. Fraulein Bart- 
feld, the chief lady of the household, was de- 
puted, and, upon entering the bed-chamber, 
drew aside the curtain. The crown-princess 
awoke and demanded what she wanted. She 
replied that Baron von Mylich had arrived as 
courier from Potsdam, and had brought the 
sad intelligence that the king was dead. 

Elizabeth Christine was deeply affected, but 
recovered sufficiently to appear in the au- 
dience chamber and receive the homage of 
her small court. 

She left the same day for Berlin, accom- 
panied by her suite. The carriage which con- 
veyed the young queen thither was drawn by 


eighty post-horses. As she drove out of 
Rheinsberg the gate of honor and splendor 
opened before her, but the gate of happiness, 
which she had enjoyed in the friendly quiet 
of thisxastle, and by the side of her husband, 
was forever closed behind her. 

The young queen, on her entrance into 
Berlin, went immediately to her widowed 
mother-in-law, to see if she could not comfort 
her in her deep affliction. Her heart, which 
was ever full of sympathy, knew well how to 
give words of comfort and consolation to the 

Frederick II. of Prussia. 


$h6 l^ew King and ^ueen. 

FEW weeks after the funeral cere- 
monies Elizabeth Christine went to 
reside in the royal palace at Berlin. 
She occupied the rooms lying to the right of 
the Schweizersaal, in the third story. Fred- 
erick, now king, introduced his wife to the 
assembled court with the words : " This is 
your queen." He granted her a suitable 
household, and presented her with a costly 
set of jewels, the third precious stone in Eu- 
rope, known as " the small Sancy." This she 
could really call her own property. In Au- 
gust of the same year he presented her the 
chateau of Schonhausen, near Berlin. Now 
she was provided for ; she had every thing 
but her husband. 


As the town and castle of Oranienburg are 
connected with the name of Louise Henriette 
of Orange, the wife of the great Elector ; and 
as Charlottenburg is associated with that of 
Sophia Charlotte, the wife of Frederick I., of 
Prussia, so is Schonhausen intimately con- 
nected with the name and life of Queen Eliza- 
beth Christine. Rheinsberg was the only 
witness of her short happiness. Schonhausen 
was the place in which she hid her sorrow and 
loneliness, the asylum of her widowhood, and 
the roof under which she at length died. 

When Elizabeth Christine was presented 
with this castle it was in a very dilapidated 
condition. It had been in possession of the 
royal family for more than half a century, and 
while improvements had been commenced at 
different periods, it had never been made at- 
tractive, or scarcely habitable. It was now 
renovated ; the grounds were enlarged, and 
the old wall by which it was surrounded re- 
placed by a low hedge. Three years after- 


ward, at the command of the new king, the 
beautiful Linden Avenue, which leads from the 
Schonhausen Gate, was laid out. 

On August 28 the queen, in company with 
the Duchess of Anhalt-Zerbst and her daugh- 
ter — afterward the Empress Catherine II., of 
Russia — visited her new residence. As she 
entered the grounds she gazed upon the pal- 
ace and its surroundings with a melancholy 
pleasure, for she had a presentiment that the 
happy days of Rheinsberg were forever past. 
Loud and joyful music resounded through the 
grounds to welcome the queen and her guests. 
After partaking of a banquet which had been 
prepared in the palace for them they re- 
turned to the city. Three days later Eliza- 
beth Christine gave a brilliant reception in 
honor of her sister-in-law, the Princess Ulrike, 
in her castle at Schonhausen. Every alley 
and grove in the grounds was beautifully illu- 
minated, and at the end of the great avenue, 
which was lighted up by different colored 


lights, stood a pyramid in which were reflected 
the words : Vive la Princesse Louise Ulrike!'' 

Two other happy events transpired in the 
same year, which filled Elizabeth Christine's 
heart with joy. One was the marriage of her 
sister, Luise Amelie, to Prince August Will- 
iam, the brother of her husband, the king. 
This marriage was arranged by the king him- 
self, which certainly was a proof of the confi- 
dence that he placed in his wife, as it strength- 
ened his connection with her family by a new 
tie. The queen cherished the hope of having 
a beloved sister near her, to whom she could 
unlock her whole heart, and from whom she 
might expect a sympathetic and comforting 
love. The other happy event was a visit to 
her beloved Rheinsberg. She remained near- 
ly six weeks in this, to her, enchanted spot, 
with which were associated so many happy 
remembrances. She had an opportunity while 
there of again celebrating her birthday, No- 
vember 8, 1740, returning to Berlin on the 


28th of the same month. She wrote while 
there a joyful letter to her much-loved brother 

The young queen did not yet feel herself 
entirely forsaken by her husband. If his royal 
office, with its earnest and sacred duties, em- 
ployed almost his entire time ; if he undertook 
many journeys upon which she could not ac- 
company him ; if, as often as he came to Ber- 
lin, he dined with his mother and not with his 
wife, she could, nevertheless, always, on these 
occasions, be in his company, and see him, with 
whom, not only by solemn vow and duty, but 
also by devoted love and admiration, she felt 
forever united. 

In December, 1740, the king left Berlin to 
join his army, and to commence war against 
Austria^ and, if possible, to crown himself with 
imperishable laurels. 

The first letters which he wrote from the 
camp to his wife were friendly, and even ten- 
der. On the loth of April the battle of MolU 


witz was fought and won. All Europe was 
filled with astonishment, and the king and the 
army which had fought so bravely were held 
in universal admiration. After the victory the 
king wrote joyfully to his wife : '' I am grate- 
ful for the signs of friendship which you give 
me; I will never prove myself unworthy of 
them, and you shall not find in me an un- 
grateful husband. Heaven has favored us to- 
day, and I hope from my whole soul that we 
may always be thus favored." 

The victory of Mollwitz was celebrated by a 
thanksgiving service in all the churches of the 
capital. The hymn, " Lord God, we praise 
thee ! " v/as sung by thankful hearts, and the 
booming of cannon sounded amid the songs 
of praise and the jubilee of the happy people. 
The queen was present on this occasion, and 
joined with the people in gratitude to God. 

In November the dowager-queen gave a 
grand entertainment in honor of Elizabeth 
Christine's birthday. It was on this festal oc- 


casion that the queen took possession of her 
newly-furnished suite of rooms in the royal 
palace. The expensive furniture and deco- 
rations of the apartments, and the massive 
gold chandeliers and brackets of the so-called 
"Golden Cabinet," excited general admiration. 
The festivities were prolonged until after mid- 
night. But all this pomp and splendor could 
not compensate the loving wife for the absence 
of her husband. This was the first birthday 
that she had celebrated without the king since 
her marriage, but it was only the sad precursor 
of many which were to follow. From that 
time until his death, a period of forty-five 
years, Frederick the Great was present at but 
two of his wife's birthday festivities. 

A few days after this great festal occasion 
the victor of Mollwitz returned from the field 
of battle, bringing with him handsome pres- 
ents for Elizabeth Christine. But the most 
precious gift to her was his safe return. To 
add to her joy at this time, her beloved sister, 


the Princess Luise Amelie, made her entrance 
into Berhn. One magnificent feast after an- 
other followed her arrival, and the marriage 
itself took place on January 6, 1742, after 
which the king again returned to his army. 

Elizabeth Christine could see him depart at 
this time with more calmness, as she had a 
sister's heart near her in which at any time 
she could seek and find consolation. And 
this consolation she very soon needed, as she 
received information that there was a con- 
spiracy against the king's life. With the most 
tender solicitude she warned him of his dan- 
ger, and besought him to protect himself. 
For her anxiety and entreaties he thanked her 
most sincerely, and did not deny the report 
of his danger. 

The battle of Ezaslau and Cholusitz was 
fought on May 18, 1742, and Frederick an- 
nounced this victory to his wife himself. Later 
he wrote to her as follows : " You may be free 
from all care, and that the more so, because 


the Austrians are so thoroughly beaten and 
discouraged that they have something to think 
about besides an assassination. Our campaign 
is now ended, and I hope to be again in Ber- 
Hn in the month of July." This was certainly 
joyful news, but what pleased the loving wife 
most of all was to read in the same letter: 
*' One who knows you must love you, and the 
goodness of your heart deserves the highest 

A preliminary treaty between Prussia and 
Austria was arranged on June ii, and peace 
was announced on the 30th of the same month, 
and celebrated with great rejoicings in the 
capital. Elizabeth Christine shared in the joy 
of her subjects, in the blissful anticipation of 
the return of the king — the victor crowned 
with glory. On July 12 he entered the capital 
amid the rejoicing of his people. His victori- 
ous sword had won a whole province, and had 
increased his dominion by about one third 
of his former possessions. His wife and the 


whole royal family received him with the 
greatest joy, but he remained with them but 
a few hours. He went to Charlottenburg, and 
from there to Potsdam. Elizabeth Christine 
was permitted to have his society, which she 
had anticipated with so much delight, but for 
a very short time. 

What Frederick, as crown-prince, wrote to 
General von Grumbkow was now continually 
being more and more fulfilled : " I shall allow 
madame to do as she thinks best, and I, on 
my part, shall do as I please ; then there will 
be freedom. . . . Good-day, madame ! and 
good way ! " 

To the pain which the queen experienced 
on account of the separation from her husband 
was added that of the separation from Frau 
von Katsch, her chief lady of the household. 
An unbiased and impartial witness describes 
this lady-in-waiting in the following terms : " I 
know of no one more worthy of respect than 
this woman. She embraced in her character 


great earnestness combined with gentleness, 
propriety with cheerfulness, dignity with po- 
liteness, and was the protectress of all upright 
people." King Frederick honored this woman ; 
but the queen loved her, and gave her her en- 
tire confidence. 

Frau von Camas, at the request of the queen, 
succeeded Frau von Katsch. She was a wom- 
an of quick intellect and noble principles, a 
person whom the king highly respected, and 
to whom the queen was very much attached. 
In August King Frederick visited Aix-la- 
Chapelle, Minden, Breslau, and, later, Rheins- 
berg and Orainenberg, but Elizabeth Christine 
was never allowed to accompany him. She 
had only the choice between Berlin and Schon- 
hausen, and of occasionally dining with the 
king when he visited his mother, the queen 

It may be asked, What circumstances had 
caused the king to become so estranged from 
the one who loved him so devotedly? The 


answer is not an easy one. We must not for- 
get that there were many influences at work. 
We think that the king was nearest the truth 
when he said that " he was not of the stuff out 
of which good husbands are made." His 
ambitious and aspiring mind, which grasped 
the wide domains of science and the fields 
of glory and honor in all their magnitude, 
could not content itself in the narrow routine 
of domestic life. The royal eagle, with fixed 
eye and mighty outspread wings, soared aloft 
to meet the ascending sun of glory ; and it 
mattered little to him if, on his victorious ca- 
reer, and in his path of triumph and fame, he 
did leave a faithful heart, wounded and un- 
cared for, to grieve in solitude. Added to this 
was the fact that his wife had been forced upon 
him, at the price of his liberty, by an inexor- 
ably stern father. Besides, the queen, with 
her quiet, modest, and unpretending nature, 
might not satisfy the demands which a *' Fred- 
erick the Great" would make upon a compan- 


ion for life. Her firm biblical faith appeared 
to the royal philosopher as narrow-mindedness, 
which he might tolerate but could never sym- 
pathize with. And, furthermore, there were 
the manifold intrigues which were carried on 
in the royal court. The dowager-queen and 
her children really envied Elizabeth Christine 
the heart of her husband, whom they all loved 
and admired, and in whose risen splendor they 
were basking. 


^ S the Empress of Austria could not 
overcome the humiliation and loss 
"H^kA that she had suffered, she resolved 
to commence a second Silesian war. In Au- 
gust King Frederick, accompanied by the 
Princes Ferdinand and Albert, brothers of 
Elizabeth Christine, and whom she devotedly 
loved, started for the field of battle. The ten- 
der solicitude that this sister felt for the lives 
of these loved ones can be clearly seen in 
the following letter, which she wrote to her 
brother Ferdinand : 

"My dear Brother — Although I have 
not received a letter from you in a long time, 
I will, nevertheless, write again, to remind you 
that you have a sister who loves you tenderly 


and with her whole heart. I know very well 
that you have little time for correspondence, 
but, I beseech you, if it is in any way possi- 
ble, to write at least a few words to our dear 
mother. She is very anxious and troubled 
about you, and fears that your love for her 
is decreasing, and that you have forgotten the 
duty which a son owes to his mother. I know 
you far too well, my dear brother, to think 
that you would intentionally give our dear 
mother, whose tenderness and care we can 
never sufficiently understand, the least anxie- 
ty or pain. I do not write to reproach you ; 
so do not be angry with me, for what I have 
written has been prompted by the deepest 
affection and love. 

" In conclusion, this same love compels me 
to beseech you to regulate your conduct so as 
to win more and more the favor of the king, 
and at the same time not to forget your duty 
to God. If you will keep these three objects 

in your mind you will certainly be happy. I 


repeat it once more: never forget your indebt- 
edness to God, the king, and your mother. 
Having performed your duty to these, you 
can ever be contented and happy. In this 
the king gives you a good example. He is a 
most worthy son, and God will bless him for 
it. He will preserve him, and give him what 
his heart desires, and will soon bring him back 
to us in peace and health. 

" I am, my beloved brother, thy faithful 

We have reproduced this letter in full, as in 
it are reflected, as in a mirror, the noble Chris- 
tian character and purity of this royal woman. 
Her piety, her love for the king, her love for 
her mother and her brother, are beautifully 
revealed in its words. 

She spent the summer in great seclusion ; 
a few weeks only did she remain in Schon- 
hausen. On September 17 she received the 
news that the capital of Bohemia had been 


taken by the Prussians. To this joy was add- 
ed another happy event — the birth of the son 
of the king's brother, Prince of Prussia. This 
was the first son and heir to the throne. If 
the queen greeted this birth, which was of the 
greatest importance to the royal house, and, 
indeed, to the whole country, with joy, she 
thanked God for the merciful fulfillment of 
her prayer. The child was christened Fred- 
erick William 11. on October 11, and the dow- 
ager-queen — the grandmother — and Elizabeth 
Christine became his sponsors. 

In December the king and Prince Ferdinand' 
returned to Berlin. Although they remained 
but a short time, Elizabeth Christine knew 
that they were safe, and in good health. It 
was a source of great pleasure to her to know 
that the king had shown her brothers marked 
respect by appointing them to positions of 
trust. He gave Prince Ferdinand command 
of the infantry, and to Prince Albert the com- 
mand of the Fusileer Guard. Elizabeth Chris- 


tine, as we may well imagine, was lonely and 
sad when her husband and brothers left again 
for the army in Upper Silesia. 

In June the Prussian troops won a great 
victory at Hohenfriedberg, and the queen 
celebrated it by a splendid feast in her palace 
at Schonhausen. In September another battle 
was fought, in which Prussia again gained a 
brilliant victory ; but the queen's brother, the 
courageous Prince Albert, was killed. Eliza- 
beth Christine had had serious apprehensions 
of this brother's life, and only a few days be- 
*fore she had written to Prince Ferdinand that 
Albert exposed himself entirely too much to 
danger, and she entreated him in her name to 
beg him to be cautious. As Prince Albert 
had lost his life in her husband's service, she 
expected at least a few words of sympathy 
from him. But none came for a long time, 
and she could not refrain from complaining to 
her brother Ferdinand, in a confidential way, 
that *'the king has been so cruel as not to 


write one syllable to either my sister or my- 
self. I am quite accustomed to such neglect, 
but it pains me, especially on such an occasion 
as this, not to hear from him." But she con- 
tinued with quiet resignation : " Patience ! I 
have done nothing for which I can reproach 
myself. I have done my duty. God, in his 
goodness, will help me to bear and overcome 

Frederick, doubtless ashamed of his neglect, 
did, later, write her a few comforting words. 
These tender sympathizing lines calmed her 
troubled heart, and she was ready to forgive 
all of his remissness. 

In November Berlin was thrown into the 
greatest confusion by the threatened invasion 
of the Austrian General Griinne. All precau- 
tionary measures were taken to resist his at- 
tack, and to place the royal family, the ar- 
chives, and the chief authorities in safety at 
Stettin. The queen remained calmly in the 
royal palace, and waited for the help of the 


Lord. Her prayer was not in vain, for on 
December i6 the joyful message of the vic- 
tory of Kesselsdorf arrived in BerHn, and was 
received with universal rejoicing. The peace 
of Dresden, which ratified the annexation of 
Silesia to Prussia, was concluded on Decem- 
ber 25, and the victorious king made his tri- 
umphant entry into the capital. His wife 
received him with the deepest gratitude 
toward God, and with a heart overflowing 
with love and joy. 

As the sun of peace arose again, bright and 
resplendent after the storm of war, Elizabeth 
Christine entertained the hope of once more 
spending happy and peaceful days by the side 
of her husband. She was willing to ascribe 
all the neglect and isolation that she had ex- 
perienced to the exigencies of the times, 
which had compelled the king to forsake the 
quiet of his home. But peace had now come, 
and he whom she loved had returned home 
crowned with victory. He could now, with 


cheerfulness, enjoy the quiet pleasures of do- 
mestic life. Only too soon did the queen ex- 
perience that her hopes were not to be ful- 
filled. King Frederick liked best to spend 
his time at Potsdam, where he superintended 
the building of Sans-souci. He never went 
to Schonhausen, and when he occasionally 
visited Berlin he preferred the society of oth- 
ers to that of his wife. 


^he Queen's ^oi|i|ow8. 

N March of the following year the 
;jK king celebrated his mother's birthday 
^'^% by inviting to the palace the dowager- 
queen, the Prince of Prussia, Prince Henry, 
and the Princess Amelia, with all the confi- 
dential officers of his household. Elizabeth 
Christine must suffer the embarrassment of 
not being invited. At another time the dow- 
ager, accompanied by the Princess of Prussia, 
visited the Prince of Prussia at Oranienburg, 
and Prince Henry in Rheinsberg, which castle 
the king had presented to him. The king 
met them at these places, gave them a hearty 
reception, and provided that magnificent fes- 
tivities should be held ; but the poor queen 
was entirely ignored. 


She wrote in her grief to her brother Ferdi- 
nand, but with calm resignation : 

" Although it pains me to be treated thus, 
I have become accustomed to it. I wish 
nothing more now than money enough to 
pay my debts, and then quietly to wait for 
death, if it will please God." 

These are the words of a queen, the wife 
of Frederick the Great, at thirty years of 

How much this injured and neglected wom- 
an still loved her husband could be seen in 
her anxiety for him in a serious illness that 
he had in February, 1747. She wrote to her 
brother : 

** Thank God, our dear king Is better. He 
has been very ill, and I was greatly troubled 
about him. If I had dared I would have 
gone to Potsdam to see him. All danger is 
now passed, and there is nothing more to be 
apprehended. God, in his mercy, wishes to 
preserve his precious life for the good of his 


country. I shall not rest until I have seen 

Sans-souci and Schonhausen were only a 
few miles apart, yet the way was obstructed 
as with insurmountable walls and bars of 

On May i of this same year the palace of 
Sans-souci was inaugurated by a great ban- 
quet. The whole court and all of the friends 
of the king were present on this occasion, but 
there was no place for the queen. Indeed, 
she never saw Sans-souci. Not even on the 
occasions of the christenings of the princes 
and princesses, and only once as queen, was 
she in Potsdam, and this was when she ac- 
companied her mother, who had been visiting 
her, on her return homeward. On that day 
the king was not in the palace, and she was 
too sensitive to look through apartments from 
which she had been unjustly excluded. With 
the few exceptions when, in times of war, she 
was obliged to be in Magdeburg, she never 


left Schonhausen and Berlin, and never saw 
her childhood's home but once after she was 

When the embassadors of foreign courts 
and distinguished strangers from all parts of 
Europe visited the Prussian Court, they al- 
ways went to Schonhausen, and paid their 
respects to her. The king was very particu- 
lar that all due honor and deference be paid 
her as queen. But this attention could not 
satisfy the heart of the wife. The splendor 
with which she, on occasions of ceremony, 
commensurate with her rank, was obliged to 
surround herself, could give her neither satis- 
faction or pleasure. This outward display 
could not make amends for the loss of domes- 
tic happiness. 

In May, 1747, King Frederick reviewed 
twenty-five battalions and six squadrons of 
his troops. As this was an extraordinary 
occasion the queen was present. She was 
magnificently dressed, and rode in a new 


phaeton drawn by eight horses. The phaeton 
was elaborately cushioned with crimson vel- 
vet, and embroidered with gold. Over her 
head was a crimson canopy, exquisitely 
wrought and fringed with gold, and supported 
by a gilded Chinese statue. Every regiment 
passed before the queen, and the officers re- 
spectfully bowed and inclined their swords. 
These public demonstrations gave her more 
pain than diversion, and made her feel more 
than ever her loneliness. 

Notwithstanding all of the king's neglect 
and indifference, she loved and praised him. 
In her helplessness she wrote to her brother : 
'■'■ God knows how I deliberate day and night 
on what I shall do in order not to displease 
his majesty. It is very hard for me to be in 
Berlin without seeing him ; but I believe it 
would be a still greater error for me not to go 
thither. If it be a crime to follow after him, 
then I glory in the same. Every intelligent 
person must love such a king as ours. ... I 


most sincerely wish that he may be preserved 
in good health, and that the troubles which he 
has to encounter may not do him any injury/' 
On the occasion of her next birthday the 
king wrote her a very friendly letter, accom- 
panied by a beautiful present. Her heart was 
full of joy, and she wrote immediately to her 
brother Ferdinand : ^' You may imagine the 
joy which this proof of the king's favor has 
given me. I was quite beside myself with joy, 
and you can easily conceive the love that I 
entertain for him. He shows his goodness not 
to an ungrateful wife, but to one who knows 
how to appreciate his goodness. May God 
preserve him in health ! " Later she wrote 
again to this same brother, to whom she con- 
fided nearly all of her sorrows : '' I wish that 
my husband could read the inmost sentiments 
of my lonely heart. He would then know my 
affection for him, and how humbly and heartily 
I thank him. . . . May God preserve this dear 
king to us, and listen to the prayers which are 


offered up for him by his people. I wish that 
I could exchange places with those who go 
unwillingly to Potsdam, and do not care to be 
in his presence. I should consider it the 
greatest happiness to have such an opportu- 
nity. But it is the way of the worfd that no 
one has all that he desires." 

Every proof of respect or friendliness that 
the king manifested for her was received with 
the utmost gratitude. In the year 1752 it was 
found that, notwithstanding her rigid economy, 
she had become involved in debt. When she 
found that the king had liquidated these obli- 
gations she was moved to tears. 

It is surprising how she could continue to 
love and admire this man with such perfect 
faithfulness and constancy, when she was al- 
most entirely ignored by him. She felt most 
keenly her neglected position, and knew that 
the barrier between her husband and herself 
was becoming greater and greater. Only the 
consciousness of always faithfully doing her 


duty and trusting in God enabled her to with- 
stand these undeserved indignities. Fortunate 
was it for her that she had found this staff and 
support, for many long and weary years of 
sorrow still lay before her. 


OON after the conclusion of the peace 
of Dresden, in 1746, Austria and Rus- 
sia concluded a treaty with each other, 
in which one article was directed expressly 
against King Frederick and his right to Sile- 
sia. Saxony was secretly a party to this 
treaty, and was ready, as soon as war was de- 
clared, to join with the enemies of Prussia. 
Austria was trying to draw the King of France 
into this combination against Frederick. Even 
as early as March, 1756, the French embassa- 
dor at the court of Prussia, Marquis de Valori, 
had begged for a porcelain botiquet of flowers 
from the porcelain manufactory at Vincennes, 
to be presented to the queen, Elizabeth Chris- 
tine. The marquis wrote : *' Do you not be- 
lieve that an opportunity could arise when this 


present from a great king would place the 
queen under perpetual obligation ? I venture 
to say that the respect shown to her would 
flatter the king. Although he seems to be 
very indifferent to her himself, it is apparent 
that if any one else fails to show her proper 
respect it excites his displeasure. I have seen 
many examples of it." In May, six weeks 
after the marquis had written the above, 
France and Austria had concluded a treaty 
against Frederick. This duplicity was used 
by the French embassador to conceal the real 
hostility that was animating the French court 
against Prussia. Sweden was in close connec- 
tion with France at this time, and it was ex- 
pected that this power would also unite with 
the enemies of Prussia. 

In July, 1756, the queen wrote to her 
brother Ferdinand : 

" We live very quietly here. When it is 

not too warm I take a walk, and, taking a 

book with me, sit, in some shady place. I 


pass the greatest part of my time alone, and 
find that the society of books is more profita- 
ble than any train of courtiers." 

On August 29 King Frederick opened the 
campaign against his numerous and powerful 
enemies. He advanced with sixty thousand 
men into Saxony, in order to cover the boun- 
daries of Brandenburg, and to carry the war 
away from his own kingdom into Bohemia. 
The great Seven Years' War had now begun, 
which brought the heroic king and his people 
almost to the brink of ruin, but which v/as to 
cover the great commander and his army with 
imperishable glory, and to raise Prussia to 
greater power and importance than ever be- 
fore. In October the Austrians were de- 
feated, and the Saxon army was obliged to 
surrender as prisoners of war. Saxony thus 
fell into the hands of Frederick, and he spent 
the winter there with his troops. A heavy 
campaign was anticipated during the following 
year. France prepared a large army for the 


purpose of crossing the Rhine. Sweden re- 
solved to reconquer that part of Pomerania 
which had been taken from her, and Russia 
renewed her compact with Austria. The 
black cloud of war hung heavy and threaten- 
ing over Prussia. 

The queen remained in Berlin during this 
year, as it was not safe to be out of the 
capital. She spent the summer in the house 
of Minister von Marschall, No. 78 Wilhelm 
Strasse, where she found a delightful garden, 
with every convenience and comfort. After 
the battles of Prague and Colhn, General Had- 
dick advanced toward Berlin, and on October 
16 took possession of it. 

The queen, with the royal family, had been 
obliged to take refuge in the fortress of Span- 
dau. After the retreat of the Austrians the 
court was again removed to Berlin. By the 
command of the king, however, the queen, 
together with the princes and princesses of 
the royal family, and the foreign ministers. 


removed from the capital to Magdeburg. 
The queen entered this city on the afternoon 
of October 28, and was received amid salvos 
of artillery. She gave a magnificent banquet 
to the officers and authorities of the city of 
Magdeburg in return for their demonstrations 
of respect to her and their loyalty to the king. 
The defeat of Collin had been a severe blow 
for Frederick and his generals. Elizabeth 
Christine felt this reverse as queen and wife 
in a twofold degree. 

The enemies of Prussia were greatly en- 
couraged. They now advanced with all the 
more boldness and assurance to share the cer- 
tain and easy spoil. The Russians pressed 
into Prussia in the north-east, the Swedes 
prepared to land in Pomerania, and two 
French armies advanced by way of Thuringia 
and Hanover into the very heart of Branden- 
burg. Amid all these calamities occurred the 
death of the dowager-queen. She died after 
a short illness. It was a source of great satis- 


faction and consolation to Elizabeth Christine 
to know that her mother-in-law had, in her lat- 
er years, learned to appreciate her real worth, 
and that they had conceived before her death 
a deep love for each other. These were ex- 
ceedingly sorrowful days for the royal family, 
and they spent their time, as the queen wrote 
to her brother, *' picking lint, and trying to 
console one another." 

The closing months of the year, however, 
brought joy and comfort, for the king had 
defeated the French at Rossbach and the 
Austrians at Leuthen, so that at the end of 
the year the whole of Silesia, as far as the 
fortress of Schweidnitz, was again in the 
power of the Prussians. The messages of 
victory were received with the greatest jubi- 
lee, not only in Magdeburg, but throughout 
all Prussia. Nothing now prevented the royal 
family from returning to the capital. The 
queen, accompanied by her sister, the Prin- 
cess of Prussia, arrived in Berlin on January 


5, 1758. Elizabeth Christine was met by the 
authorities of the city, and welcomed by the 
applause of the assembled crowd and amid 
sounds of music. Her triumphant entrance 
at the Brandenburg Gate, which then con- 
sisted of two simple stone pillars, was greeted 
with the most jubilant shouts from the hon- 
est citizens. On the 24th of the same month 
Elizabeth Christine celebrated with great mag- 
nificence the birthday of her royal husband, 
the victorious hero. At the beginning of this 
year she looked forth with renewed energy 
and hope, but was obliged to suffer disap- 

In January the Russians had left Memel 
and entered Konigsberg. All of East Prussia 
had been compelled to do homage to the Em- 
press of Russia, and, with all the horror of a 
wild foray, the northern army advanced as far 
as the Newmark. Every heart was now filled 
with the most gloomy forebodings. Another 
death added to the sorrows of the royal family. 


The Prince of Prussia, the husband of the 
queen's sister, who had left the army after the 
battle of Collin, died, May 12, at Oranienburg, 
after a long illness. After communicating the 
painful news to the king, it also devolved upon 
the queen to convey the sad message to her 
sister, the v/ife of the Prince of Prussia. These 
sisters wept together, and Elizabeth Christine 
sought, with all prudence and tenderness, to 
comfort her. 

In this deep affliction it was natural for the 
widowed princess to wish for the tender em- 
brace and loving counsel of her mother. The 
queen immediately made arrangements to 
carry out her wishes, but it was not without 
much embarrassment on her part, for she was 
obliged to get permission from the king. The 
following is an extract from a letter which she 
wrote to him : '' I promise you, with all sin- 
cerity, that not the slightest intrigue shall take 
place ; for I dislike such treachery as much as 
it is possible for a person to do, and have al- 


ways had the greatest horror of it. Concern- 
ing the expense, I will not spend more than is 
actually necessary, and think that my mother 
will be satisfied with her usual mode of life. 
. . . Under all circumstances you can be as- 
sured that I will do nothing to call forth your 

The king granted the request of his wife, 
and the Duchess of Brunswick arrived at 
Schonhausen on July 17. The sorrowful sis- 
ters had now the happiness of seeing their be- 
loved mother, and enjoying her society for 
fourteen days. On August i the duchess re- 
turned to Brunswick, and the queen accom- 
panied her as far as Potsdam. 

One misfortune after another came upon the 
royal house during this year. The Margrav- 
ine of Baireuth, Wilhelmina, the favorite sister 
of the king, died on October 14, The same 
hour that she died the king suffered the sad 
reverse of Hochkirch. This fatal day robbed 
him of many of his best generals, besides five 


thousand of his brave soldiers. The queen's 
brother, Frederick Franz, was among the slain. 
When he was told that the Austrians had sur- 
prised the Prussian camp, he cheerfully and 
courageously called out to his troops : " Then 
we will drive them forth again ! " With the 
utmost bravery he advanced with his brigade 
into the village, which was already possessed 
and defended by the enemy. While urging 
on his troops he was instantly killed by a can- 
non-ball. He was only twenty-six years of 
age. Eight months before he had written to 
his sister in gloomy foreboding : " It must 
some time have an end, and I hope that the 
end for which I sigh will soon come." The 
body of the fallen hero was conveyed to 
Schonhausen, and the queen mourned deeply 
his loss. This was the second brother who 
had fallen on the field of battle while fighting 
under the banner of King Frederick. 

In the following year, however, Elizabeth 
Christine had occasion to be joyful over the 


success of her brother Ferdinand, the confidant 
of her heart. He gained the victory of Min- 
den over the French, and compelled them to 
recross the Rhine. But this joy was but oi 
short duration, for only twelve days after 
Prince Ferdinand's success the king suffered a 
most terrible and disheartening defeat at Kun- 
ersdorf. He ordered that the court and ar- 
chives should be immediately removed from 
Berlin, as the capital was threatened by the 
victorious enemy. He wrote to Minister von 
Finkenstein : '' It is a sad misfortune. I shall 
not survive it. The consequences have been 
worse than the battle itself. I have no further 
resources, and, if I must tell the truth, I con- 
sider every thing as lost. I shall not survive 
the ruin of my country." 

The queen was compelled to flee again with 
the royal family to Magdeburg, where they 
were obliged to remain for nearly three and a 
half years. During this time she had the joy 
of seeing her mother and two of her sisters, 


who came to Magdeburg. One deplorable 
event followed another. The brave and faith- 
ful General Fouque was defeated and taken 
prisoner at Landshut, on June 23. In August 
the king won a victory over the Austrians at 
Leignitz, but without gaining any decided ad- 
vantage. The king wrote to a friend : " For- 
merly the occurrence of the 15th would have 
decided much ; now this engagement is but a 
light scratch. A great battle is necessary to 
decide our fate, which, according to all prob- 
ability, will soon take place. Never in my life 
have I been in so critical a position as during 
this campaign. A kind of miracle is necessary 
to surmount the difficulties which I foresee. 
They are Herculean labors which I have to 
end, and at an age when strength forsakes me, 
when sickness attacks me, and, to speak the 
truth, when hope itself, the only comfort of 
the unfortunate, begins to fail." 

On October 9, 1760, the Austrians and Rus- 
sians entered Berlin with all the wantonness 


of barbarous victors. The queen learned with 
great sorrow that her beloved Schonhausen 
had been plundered. The Cossacks laid waste 
the royal chateau, and sought for the treasure 
in it ; finding none, they burned the castellan 
with a hot iron, to compel him to confess 
where it was supposed to be hidden. Fortu- 
nately, the queen had taken it with her to 
Magdeburg. Charlottenburg was also plun- 
dered by the Saxons, who gave themselves up 
to the grossest vandalism. 

The news of the glorious victory which the 
king won over the Austrians at Forgau, in No- 
vember, revived their sunken courage. Amid 
the rejoicings over the news of this splendid 
victory, the citizens of Magdeburg celebrated 
the birthday of the queen. 



%n^ of the ^even ¥eati$' Mai:[. 

^^HE year 1761 passed without any 
important battles. King Frederick, 
^/^i^ in his fortified camp at Bunzelwitz, 
defied the united attack of the Russian and 
Austrian armies. He could not prevent, how- 
ever, the important fortress of Schweidnitz 
from again falling into the hands of the ene- 
my, nor the Russians from firmly establishing 
themselves in Pomerania, by the conquest 
of Kolberg. To add to his embarrassments, 
the important alliance of England was with- 
drawn after the death of George II. The 
brave and pious hussar, General Ziethen, tried 
to comfort him by hinting at the great Help- 
er above. " Ah," sighed Frederick, " he does 
no more miracles." A miracle was, indeed, 
neccessary to surmount these difficulties ; 


and God, in his goodness, did perform that 

The Empress Ehzabeth of Russia, King 
Frederick's bitterest enemy, died on January 
5, 1762, and her nephew and successor, Peter 
III., an enthusiastic admirer of the great Prus- 
sian king, ascended the imperial throne of 
Russia. He immediately released all Prus- 
sian prisoners without ransom, and concluded 
a peace with Prussia on May 5, in which he 
gave up all conquests without indemnification, 
and even joined his own troops to the Prus- 
sian army. 

Sweden followed the example of Russia, 
and also entered into a treaty of peace. By 
means of this rapid and fortunate change the 
king was rescued from his unfortunate posi- 
tion. " He is right," he acknowledged to the 
pious Ziethen ; ^' He has kept his word to his 

Peter HI. was afterward dethroned by his 
wife Catherine, whom he had dethroned and 


placed in a cloister. The Empress ratified the 
treaty of peace with Prussia, made by her pre- 
decessor, and Frederick had only now to com- 
bat with the French and Austrians. 

In the same year the queen's mother, the 
Duchess of Brunswick, died, and her loss cast 
Elizabeth Christine into the deepest sorrow. 
But in this bitter grief she was greatly com- 
forted to know that, amid the cares and anx- 
ieties of war, the king was thoughtful of her, 
and that he tried to console her with a sym- 
pathizing letter. 

After this sorrow the queen was enabled to 
look above with renewed hope. The sun of 
happiness and joy, which had so long been 
hidden behind dark clouds, arose in fresh splen- 
dor over the beloved Fatherland. The kine 
had defeated the Austrians at Burkersdorf and 
Leutsmannsdorf, and the fortress of Schweid- 
nitz had been reconquered after a long siege 
and a brave resistance. Silesia had thus again 
come into the possession of the King of Prussia. 


Prince Henry, the king's brother, had defeated 
the imperial troops at Freiburg, and Prince 
Ferdinand of Brunswick had defeated the 
French at Wilhelmsthal and at Lutterberg. 

The prehminaries of a peace between France 
and Prussia were signed on November 3, 1762. 
Maria Theresa, forsaken by all her allies, was 
obliged to give up all hope of subduing the 
heroic king who had alone withstood so brave- 
ly and victoriously the confederate powers. 
She bade the electoral prince of Saxony, 
Frederick Christian, to undertake measures 
for the conclusion of peace. This he did, and 
received the assurance from the king that he 
would do all that was compatible with his 
honor for its restoration. On New-year's- 
eve of the year 1763 the plenipotentiaries of 
Prussia, Austria, and Saxony met together at 
Hubertsburg, Saxony, for the purpose of ne- 
gotiating the terms upon which peace could 
be concluded. On February 15, the treaty 
was signed. Prussia and Austria renounced 


all claims to the states and lands belonging to 
each other. All conquests made during the 
Seven Years' War were restored. Frederick 
remained in possession of the whole of Silesia, 
and gave back the land belonging to the 
Elector of Saxony. 

In anticipation of the approaching conclu- 
sion of peace, the queen could again leave the 
fortress of Magdeburg. On February i6 she 
arrived in Berlin. She entered the city in a 
carriage drawn by eight pairs of horses, es- 
corted by forty eight postillions and the dif- 
ferent corporations of the city. On the same 
evening a messenger arrived, announcing that 
peace had been proclaimed on the preceding 
day. The joyful people gave expression to 
their feelings by loud acclamations, booming 
of cannon, strains of music, and a brilliant 
illumination. The Sunday following was ob- 
served as a day of thanksgiving throughout 
the land. 

The Seven Years' War was now ended, and 


Elizabeth Christine looked forward to the 
return of her husband, trusting that, as he 
had satisfied his ambitious spirit and crowned 
his brow with imperishable laurels, he would 
now be willing to seek happiness in the do- 
mestic circle. For this happiness the queen 
longed with all the intensity that a loving 
and faithful heart could yearn. It was with 
the greatest joy that she received a letter 
from the king announcing that he would be in 
Berlin on the evening of March 30, and would 
dine with her. The time arrived, and the 
streets were lined with innumerable multi- 
tudes of people. Very early in the morning 
the citizens commenced thronging the streets 
until they formed a double human wall, two 
miles in length, extending to the Branden- 
burg gate, through which the king was to 
make his entrance. 

Amid the shouts and cheers of his subjects, 
King Frederick rode through the city to the 
royal palace, where he descended from his 


carriage and went immediately to the apart- 
ments of the queen. She gave him a tender 
and affectionate welcome. He dined with her 
and other members of the royal family, dis- 
tributing among them rich and expensive 
gifts. The capital, and, indeed, all Prussia, 
was filled with joyful festivities. But all this 
rejoicing could not satisfy the disappoint- 
ment of the queen. She experienced only 
too soon that the seven years' absence of her 
husband had alienated him more than ever 
from her. 

King Frederick wrote to one of his friends 
soon after his return : 

" Peace causes universal joy. As for me, I 
return as a gray-headed old man into a city in 
which I only know the walls, where I meet 
none of my old acquaintances, where endless 
labor awaits me, and where, in a short time, I 
shall lay my weary bones to rest ; where there 
is no more trouble, no war, no misery, and no 
deceit among men." 


At an earlier date he wrote as follows to 
Marquis d'Argens : 

" My dear Marquis : I hardly know any 
more whether there is a Sans-souci in the 
world, or where that place may be, so that the 
name pleases me no more. I am old, sad, and 
full of trouble. A semblance of my former 
vivacity returns from time to time, but it 
is as a spark which soon vanishes, because 
there is a want of fire to keep it alive. 
It is like a sunbeam which penetrates dark 
thunder -clouds. I will say more: if you 
were to see me, you would not recognize 
in me my former self. You would see in 
me a gray old man, who has lost the half 
of his teeth, without joyfulness, without ani- 
mation, and without imagination. These, 
my dear marquis, are not the result of years, 
but of cares. They are the first-fruits of 
the frailty which the autumn of life inwardly 


Frederick the Great had not only, in his 
long and heavy wars, sacrificed the best part 
of his kingdom, the most confidential friends 
of his heart, and the best years of his life, but 
he had also, in his unprecedented battles and 
undertakings, completely exhausted the 
strength of his manhood. He had in seven 
years exhausted the strength of fourteen, and 
had really become an old man. 

" My joyfulness and my happy disposition," 
he wrote to the marquis, '' are buried with the 
dear ones that have been taken from me. 
The close of my life will now be sad and pain- 
ful. ... I alone have outlived this generation, 
and wish nowS:o lay my old bones in peace in 
the grave." 

Frederick's first thought was to heal as 
quickly as possible the wounds which his 
country had suffered during the long years of 
war, and to raise his kingdom to renewed 
prosperity. He performed the duties of a 
king anxious for the welfare of his people, as 


a true father of his country. He saw all 
the injuries that had been done to the Fa- 
therland, and his heart beat with the warm- 
est love for all his subjects. His hand was 
unwearied in fulfilling the duties of his royal 

A few days after his return he went to 
Potsdam and Sans-souci, while Elizabeth 
Christine went to Schonhaiisen. It was a 
sad and mournful summer that she spent in 
her desolated and devastated palace. Meas- 
ures were taken the following year for its res- 
toration, and, when completed, it was far 
more beautiful than it was before the war. 
Among the improvements was a pediment 
raised above one of the porticoes, which can 
still be seen, with the initial letters, E. C, of 
the queen. 

There, as formerly, Elizabeth Christine 
lived in painful, and yet contented, solitude. 
Conversation with a few true friends, cor- 
respondence with learned men at home and 


abroad, especially with the clergymen of 
the capital., and, best of all, her beloved 
books, formed the chief occupation of her 
retired life. 


N July, 1766, Countess von Camas, 
chief lady of the household, and Eliza- 
^ beth Christine's faithful and devoted 
friend, died. She was not only esteemed by 
Frederick the Great, but by every, one who 
knew her, as a lady of great nobleness of heart 
and dignity of character. Her death caused 
the queen the most intense sorrow, for she 
knew that her loss could never be replaced. 
This severe affliction drove the queen to a 
new and hitherto untried activity. 

She immediately commenced translating the 
at that time much-read religious work by Cru- 
gott, "Christ in Solitude." She dedicated 
this book to her devoted and beloved brother, 
Ferdinand of Brunswick. The dedicatory let- 


ter, which covers several pages, exhibits very 
clearly the feelings of the queen. It is, at the 
same time, so true a witness of her piety that 
we reproduce it unabridged : 

** Dedicatory Letter to my Brother. 

** To you who know so truly and deeply the 
worth of religion, to whom should I dedicate 
this translation in preference to you, my be- 
loved brother ? This blessed religion has pre- 
served you upright in the world, and directed 
your life under all circumstances, even on the 
field of battle. You have always sought Al- 
mighty God for your support, and he has never 
forgotten you in the most dangerous periods 
of your life. You have always given him the 
honor due his name. Even after that victo- 
rious battle, when your friends congratulated 
you, I remember your reply: 'Let us thank 
God, who has so visibly stood by us. I have 
only been the instrument in the hands of the 
Omnipotent by which he has given us the vie- 


tory.' How many letters I have from you in 
which you give God the praise, and show the 
confidence which you place in him at all times ! 
Therefore this wise and beneficent Father has 
blessed you, and turned for you all evil into 
good. Your name is sufficiently known, by 
all your great and good deeds, for Christian 
people to do you justice. One word more of 
praise must I write, and which outweighs all 
of your deeds of heroism : it is, that you know 
what religion is, that you practice it, and make 
it the rule and guide of all your actions. 

" I will here relate the circumstance which 
caused me to undertake this translation. I 
had a dear friend, who was devoted to you 
with her whole heart, but who is now dead. 
She found so much pleasure in this book, in 
the original German, that she read it again and 
again. She often spoke to me concerning it, 
and told me that the reading of it made her 
truly happy, imbuing her with peace of mind, 
elevated thoughts, and faith in God. This 


friend had a clear and searching mind, and to 
me was a devoted and loving companion. Her 
rare virtues were illuminated by her faith in 
God. Out of this faith flowed her zeal for the 
welfare of her friends and her true Christian 
love and heroism, which she manifested to her 
latest moment. 

'' The loss which I suffered by her death 
was very painful. After her burial this book 
fell into my hands, and I read it afresh. I 
found such beautiful and elevated thoughts in 
it that I determined to translate it into French, 
that I might be the more deeply impressed. 
Each page recalls to mind the conversations 
which we had together, and by which I was 
so much edified. They remind me, also, of 
the delightful interviews which I used to have 
with my two peerless sisters, who possessed all 
of those qualities of heart and mind which 
made them so amiable, companionable, and 
worthy of respect, and whose loss forms one 
of the most painful experiences of my life. 


" These departed ones proved, by their ex- 
ample, that true piety is consistent with the 
earthly life ; that one can enjoy all its pleas- 
ures without being made gloomy and melan- 
choly, as so many people think, especially the 
fashionable and those of sprightly tempera- 
ment. They showed, by their conversation 
and beautiful example, that only with faith in 
Christ can we live contentedly and joyfully. 
The younger of the two sisters manifested this 
faith in her sufferings. She was an invalid for 
"many years, and often said to me, when I ad- 
mired her patience in her affliction, ' God has 
sent it to me. Why should I not bear it pa- 
tiently ? Besides, he shows me so many favors 
that I try to place my whole confidence in 
him, and to be happy and contented. I know 
that when he takes me from this world I shall 
enjoy eternal happiness, and receive the re- 
ward that awaits me for all that I have suf- 
fered here below. This earthly life is but a 
pilgrimage to a happy eternity.' 


" How often both of these sisters used to 
encourage me to be firm in my faith in God, 
and in the hour of great trouble to trust him 
impHcitly ! Such were the dear and Christian 
friends who continually strengthened me. 
They have been torn from me by death, and 
their loss is very grievous. But the Gospel 
teaches us to look not only to this life but to 
the life which is to come. They are happy, 
and I will not envy them. God has taken 
them from earth, and their presence is no 
longer here to cheer me ; but I shall meet them 
again in the other world, so that they are really 
not lost, but gone before. The Lord requires 
that we give him our whole heart. To him I 
will ever have recourse, and he will, at all 
times, to the end of my days, be my father, 
my friend, and my helper, and will at last re- 
ceive me into his eternal kingdom. Without 
this hope I would be indeed alone and for- 

" You, my dear brother, are still in the 


world, although far from me. It troubles me 
much that I can no longer see you, and have 
the pleasure and profit of your conversations. 
Your friendship for me has been thoroughly 
tried, and the hope that I have of seeing you 
again before I die never forsakes me. I have 
arrived at an age when, perhaps, I have but a 
short time to live. But for you, my dear 
brother, I wish a long and happy life. When 
our earthly career is ended I know that we 
will again be united with all of our dear rela- 
tives and friends, and enjoy with them the 
unchangeable bliss of eternity. 

'^ I am, with a devoted friendship, my be- 
loved brother, your faithful sister, 

'' Elizabeth Christine." 

The queen's life became more and more 
lonely and sorrowful. Her brother, Anton 
Ulrich, died in May, 1775, in his Sibe- 
rian exile. A year later her sister. Princess 
Christine Charlotte, died, and two years after 


her death a younger sister, Therese NataUe, 
Abbess of Gandersheim, died. But the most 
painful to her was the death of her widowed 
sister, the Princess of Prussia. She died Jan- 
uary 13, 1780. This sister had Hved for 
thirty-eight years at the same court, in the 
most intimate and confidential unity, and the 
queen mourned her loss with the most pro- 
found sorrow. It was at the death-bed of 
this Christian princess that the following lines 
of Paul Gerhardt's beautiful hymn were sung : 

O when thou call'st me to depart, 

Turn not away thy face ; 
When death has pierced me with his dart, 

Uphold me with thy grace. 

If terror and dismay 

Assail my fleeting breath. 
Lord, thou wilt all my fears allay, 

For thou hast conquered death. 

While she mourned the loss of this devoted 
sister, she had the great comfort of having 
confided to her care this sister's granddaugh- 
ter. The merry, joyful child became the 


lively and cheerful companion of her solitude. 
Intrusting this girl to the care of Elizabeth 
Christine, which was brought about by the 
king, was certainly a pleasing proof of the 
confidence he had in her. This child> Prin- 
cess Frederica, was the daughter of King 
Frederick's favorite niece, Elizabeth of Bruns- 
wick, and the king showed her much atten- 
tion. The little princess in a few years be- 
came marriageable,* and was united to Fred- 
erick, Duke of York, second son of King 
George III. The queens of Prussia and En- 
gland were on friendly terms, and the English 
queen was very willing to receive the Prussian 
princess as her daughter-in-law. She wrote a 
kind letter to Elizabeth Christine, promising 
to be both a friend and mother to her son's 
young wife. 

The Duchess of York, in her first letters 
from England, tells the Queen of Prussia how 
well Queen Charlotte, her mother-in-law, had 
kept this promise in the motherly reception 


which she had given her. When the duchess 
arrived at her new home in Oatlands she 
found in her room a portrait of the Queen of 
Prussia, which had been placed there by 
Queen Charlotte. It was a speaking likeness, 
and the smile on the well-known face drew 
tears from the eyes of the young bride, even 
in the midst of her new happiness — tears of 
gratitude springing from the thought that for 
her, the once desolate child, two mothers had 
been provided by the providence of God.* 

* Hudson, " Louisa, Queen of Prussia," vol. i, p. 197. 



Bi3li9iot:i$ IslU — ^utithetj 'J^itei^at|y ^a^boJ^jS. 

now, in connection with her other 
afflictions, to feel the weakness of 
In 1773 she became quite ill, and did 
not recover until the following year, when she 
again had a severe attack, and her physicians 
despaired of her life. King Frederick, on 
being advised of the state of the queen's 
health, wrote to the physician : " It would 
grieve me if such an event (her death) were 
to occur." She recovered, however, for her 
trials and sorrows were not yet at an end. 
Her books, her few confidential friends, and, 
above all, her hidden life in God, wholly occu- 
pied her time. In the same year, after her 
severe illness, she translated three books : a 


work of Spalding's on " The Destiny of Man," 
the pious " Resolutions of Brandannus Geb- 
harde," and another work, by an unknown au- 
thor, entitled, " Love of God." Toward the 
close of the same year she wrote an original 
work, '' Thoughts and Meditations for the 
New-year on the Care which God has for 
Mankind, and of the Way, full of Goodness, 
in which he leads Us." As this work thor- 
oughly illustrates the character of the au- 
thoress, and her faith in God's goodness, we 
make a few selections from the closing 
pages : 

"As I am sufficiently convinced that I am 
not guided by the thoughts of my own limited 
and defective understanding, but by the coun- 
sel and the thoughts of the everlasting, per- 
fect, and all-merciful God, I will, in the future, 
bring all my thoughts and wishes as a sacrifice 
to his omniscience, and forego my own will and 
limited judgment. As I have often experi- 
enced that my heart is never more burdened 


with sorrow than when it is misled by its own 
foolish- imaginings, its perverse self-love, and 
its vain and frivolous desires, I will, therefore, 
make use of the present, and endeavor, in the 
future, to do my duty. I will consecrate my- 
self fully to the Lord, and place my whole 
trust in him, in the firm conviction that he 
will guide me safely to the end. 

" With these principles I will surrender my- 
self during the new-year, without fear or 
care, entirely to the guidance of my heavenly 
Father, with the consciousness that nothing 
will occur but what is necessary for my tem- 
poral and spiritual well-being. If God gives 
me prosperity and happiness, I will praise 
and glorify his name. If, however, his omnis- 
cience sends affliction and sorrow, I will humil- 
iate myself in perfect submission to his will. 
Should this year be the last of my life, I 

trust I will be prepared to say, 'Thy will be 

d> >> 

In 1777 the queen published a translation 


of Sturm's " Meditations on the Works of God 
in Nature and Providence," in three volumes, 
of which the following is the preface : 

"As it is the most sacred duty of man to 
love and revere his Creator, I think I do not 
make bad use of my time when I translate 
from the German into French these ' Medita- 
tions.' At first I only had in view my own edi- 
fication, wishing to stimulate anew my heart 
to the praise of Almighty God. But friends, 
wdiom I could not deny, have begged me to 
publish this translation, which I consent to 
do, wishing from the inmost depths of my 
heart that those who read them, and who have 
not the least susceptibility of that divine care 
of which they are the continual objects, may 
be benefited, and brought out of their indo- 
lence and slothfulness. 

" May we, dear reader, give to the great 
truths of which these reflections remind us, 
the attention which they deserve, and, that 


we may from day -to day become more and 
more perfect, is the earnest and sincere prayer 
of my heart. CONSTANCE."* 

We add the preface of another translation, 
which she pubHshed in 1778: ''Six Sermons 
by Sack." This preface gives very fully her 
faith in God and his promises. 

"A just and certain living, and accurate 
knowledge of religion, is an inexhaustible 
source of joy and consolation. The precepts 
of the Gospels, and the example which our 
Saviour gave in his life to the world, cannot 
do otherwise than make us happy, and if we 
obey them, we will certainly be so. On the 
other hand, only in the seeking of true piety 
and virtue, with the hope of a favorable result, 
shall we aspire after that true blessedness 

* The king, wlien crown-prince, had founded at Rheins- 
berg an Order, whose patron saint was the French knight, 
Bayard, the well-known man "without fear and reproach.'' 
In the Order Frederick bore the name of " The Constant," 
In memory of those beautiful days, which had now been passed 
for thirty-seven years, the queen signed herself "Constance." 


which was won for us by the sufferings and 
death of our Lord Jesus Christ, and which 
hope was strengthened by his resurrection and 
ascension. It is only when we obey the com- 
mands and follow the example of our Saviour 
that he promises us that we shall be with him, 
and with him rejoice in perfect happiness. 

" O, if we only cling closely and are faithful 
to our Saviour, who ascended into heaven, and 
who has promised to be our Mediator with the 
Father, and to guide us by his Holy Spirit in 
the right way! If we sincerely believe that he 
will not forsake us, must we not be happy in 
this world and in the world to come ? We 
Bhall be if we walk humbly before him ; if we 
work out our salvation with fear and trembling. 
In order to become happy, we shall recognize 
the necessity of a holy life, and at the same 
time believe that not all who say. Lord, Lord, 
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but, as 
Jesus Christ himself testified, only those who 
do the will of their Father in heaven. 


'' We have no plea or excuse on account of 
our weakness or inability. Our Saviour said, 
' My yoke is easy, and my burden is light ! * 
He gives us courage, and strengthens us to 
follow his commandments. We can say with 
David, ' But it is good for me to draw near to 
God : I have put my trust in the Lord God, 
that I may declare all thy works.' 

'' May the Almighty God help us through 
his grace to lead truly holy lives ! May he, 
from whom every good and perfect gift com- 
eth, infuse out- hearts with the love of Jesus 
Christ, and lead and direct us by his Holy 
Spirit in this great work ! " 

" Meditations for Every Day of the Week " 
was the title of another little book that she 
translated the same year (1778) and dedicated 
to her young niece, Frederica. 

This year promised to be a troubled one. 
The cloud of war again threatened the Prussian 
sky.. The Elector, Maximilian Joseph, of Ba- 
varia, died in December, 1777, without an heir. 


His rightful successor was the Elector, Karl 
Theodore, of the Palatinate. The acting Em- 
peror Joseph, of Austria, wished to take ad- 
vantage of this event in order to strengthen 
his power in Germany. He therefore made 
out some specific claims, and advanced with 
his troops into Bavaria, with the intention of 
making the weak elector agree to a contract 
by which Austria would receive a large por- 
tion of Bavaria. Frederick the Great, who 
perceived in the proceeding an infraction of 
the German imperial laws, and a dangerous 
example for the future, determined at once to 
go forward and protect his rights. He had a 
declaration made in Vienna that he would 
never consent to a division of the Electoral 
States. The Austrians sought in every way 
to oppose him, and finally they tried to win 
him by seductive promises. But he remained 
steadfast to his determination to protect the 
independence of Bavaria. He sent troops into 
Bohemia, and later joined the army himself. 


It appeared now as if the peace which had 
smiled upon Prussia for fifteen years, and 
which had healed the wounds of the country 
and advanced its power and prosperity, was 
once more to vanish before the horror and 
devastation of war. 

Frederick's subjects looked upon their king 
with anxiety, yet with confidence. Elizabeth 
Christine, wishing to strengthen and encour- 
age the Prussian people, wrote a little pamph- 
let entitled, "■ Meditations on the Position of 
Public Affairs in 1778." This she dedicated 
to all timorous people. We reproduce here 
the most interesting parts: 

*' We are, as it appears, threatened again 
with war. Fifteen years have passed away 
since the termination of the Seven Years' 
War, during which time we have enjoyed the 
blessings of peace. Have we been really 
thankful for the benefits of peace ? Have we 
made a good use of the time in which we 
have enjoyed its blessings ? Have we often 


thought of the sad and dangerous positions 
in which we have been placed ? Have we 
thought of our indebtedness to God, who 
saved us in those perilous times, and who has 
preserved our dear and incomparable king ? 

" This great king, a true father of his peo- 
ple, fought for the preservation of his coun- 
try, without thinking of weariness or danger. 
His sublime spirit ever found fresh resources, 
even when misfortune had reached its summit 
and every thing appeared to be lost. . . . 

** O, my beloved fellow-countrymen, never 
forget what your good and great king has done 
for you ! Remain truly devoted to him ! 
Love him as subjects ought to love their king, 
who loves them and has done every thing for 
them. ... In war he is the terror of his ene- 
mies, while in peace he is, by his goodness and 
mildness, the true father of his people. But 
whom have we to thank for the happiness of 
having such a king ? Is it not the Lord who, 
in his love, has given him to us ? Is it not he 


who has preserved him to us ? . . . After so 
many wonderful tokens of his protection, 
would it not offend him if we were to look 
into the future timorously ? 

** No, the most high King and Lord will not 
forsake us if we put our trust in him. We 
shall have every reason to praise him, and 
these days of disturbance and uncertainty will 
result in a durable peace. 

'* But, dear fellow-countrymen, if it is God's 
will to allow the torch of war again to be kin- 
dled for our chastisement, let us be of good 
cheer. The same God who has given us such 
wonderful victories in the past will not forsake 
us now. May the God of mercy go forth with 
our dear king, as he goes forth, the restorer 
and preserver of German freedom ! Let us 
unitedly pray that he may be successful, as 
the instrument of God, in carrying out just- 
ice and right. May the injustice of the Em- 
peror of Austria be exposed, and our good 
king have reason to hope that he will have the 


victory, that peace may once more be restored, 
and that the old order of things may be main- 
tained, in which all the States of the empire, 
without fear of interference of other powers, 
may be preserved in peace and quietness." 

This is the language of true patriotism and 
confidence in God which this devoted queen 
gave to the German people. Fortunately, 
however, the apprehensions which were enter- 
tained were not realized. Russia manifested 
an intention of joining Prussia, and the Aus- 
trian court immediately entered into negotia- 
tions for peace. Austria surrendered to the 
rightful heir the portions of Bavaria which 
she had taken possession of, and King Freder- 
ick again returned to Berlin from the blood- 
less campaign which he contemptuously desig- 
nated as the '' Potato War." Two days after 
the king's return to the capital he dined with 
the queen and other members of the royal 
family at Charlottenburg. In the afternoon 
of the same day Elizabeth Christine returned 


to Schonhausen, and a few days later the king 
went to Sans-souci. 

In the following year the queen translated 
an English religious work, by Richard Jones, 
into French : " Man as a Friend of God." 
This work had already been translated into 
German. It treats of the communion and 
friendship which may exist between God and- 
man. In her preface, which she dedicated to 
her niece, the Princess Wilhelmina, of Prussia, 
she says : '' Only in this intimate relation and 
union with God can we find that holy confi- 
dence which will preserve us upright and holy 
in all positions of life. If we do our part, 
God will certainly do his." 

Her firm confidence in her God, her pa- 
tience, submission, and resignation to his pa- 
ternal will which we find expressed in all her 
Avritings, were the support which upheld and 
comforted her on her lonely pilgrimage. One 
after another of her relatives and dear friends 
whom she loved so fondly were being taken 


from her by death. She had scarcely recov- 
ered from the shock occasioned by the death 
of her sister, the Princess of Prussia, when she 
was called to mourn the death of her brother 
Carl, the reigning Duke of Brunswick. Of 
the fourteen brothers and sisters whom she 
once had, only two brothers and two sisters 
now remained. 

May 12, 1783, was the fiftieth anniversary 
of her marriage. Fifty years ! What fullness 
of joy so often commemorates the golden 
wedding of poor and humble subjects ! What 
sweet and hallowed remembrances encircle 
these periods ! How entirely different was it 
at the royal court of Prussia ! Neither in the 
royal palace nor in the country was this day 
celebrated. But Elizabeth Christine found 
consolation and happiness in quiet commun- 
ion with God, and in the consoling words of 
the psalmist, " Thou wilt guide me Avith thy 
counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." 
In this peaceful and subdued state of mind 


she translated the first volume of Herme's 
'' Manual of Religion," which she published in 
the following year. 

In January, 1785, King Frederick celebrated 
the birthday of his brother. Prince Henry, in 
the apartments of the queen, and, without 
doubt, this was the last time that he ever 
visited her. Soon after this his health be- 
came so unsettled as to require earnest atten- 
tion. How long and fervently had this de- 
voted woman prayed God to preserve this 
great king I Notwithstanding his indifference 
to her, she adored him as the hero whose 
glory had shed a halo over his country, and 
who was so truly worthy of being called the 
*' father of his people." 


REDERICK the Great was now in 
his seventy-fifth year. Asthma and 
^^j^ dropsy were gradually bringing down 
his strength, and the question was, How long 
will it last ? Carlyle describes him as being 
at that last period of his life " an interesting, 
thin, little old man, of alert, though slightly- 
stooping figurej who used to be seen saunter- 
ing on the terrace of Sans-souci for a short 
time in the afternoon^ or you might have met 
him at an earlier hour riding or driving in a 
rapid business-like manner in the open roads, 
or through the woods and avenues in the 
vicinity of Potsdam."* 

* For the chief contents of this chapter we are largely in- 
debted to Carlyle's " Life of Frederick the Great," and Hud- 
son's "Life and Times of Louisa, Queen of Prussia." 


" This was Frederick the Great of Prussia ; 
so strangers called him, but at home among 
his own people, who so much loved and es- 
teemed him, he was ' Vater Fritz,' a name of 
familiarity which, in that time, had not bred 
contempt. He is a king, every inch of him, 
though Avithout the trappings of a king. He 
presents himself in a Spartan simplicity of 
vesture : no crown, but an old military cocked 
hat, generally old, or trampled or kneaded into 
absolute softness if new ; no scepter, but one 
like Agamemnon's, a walking-stick cut from 
the woods, which serves also as a riding-whip, 
with which he hits the horse between the ears. 
As for royal robes, a mere soldier's blue coat 
with facings, coat likely to be old, and sure to 
have a good deal of Spanish snuff on the 
breast of it ; the rest of the apparel, unobtru- 
sive in color or cut, ending in high over-knee 
military boots. 

" The man is not of God-like physiognomy, 
any more than of imposing stature or cos- 


tume ; close-shut mouth, with thin lips, prom- 
inent jaws and nose, receding brow, by no 
means of Olympian height. His head, however, 
is of long form, and has superlative gray eyes 
in it. Not what is called a beautiful man, nor 
yet by all appearance what is called a happy 
man. On the contrary, his face bears evi- 
dence of many sorrows, as they are termed, 
of much hard labor done in the world, and 
seems to anticipate nothing but more still 
coming. . . . Yet great unconscious, and some 
conscious, pride, well-tempered with a cheery 
-humor, are written on that old face, which 
carries its chin forward, notwithstanding the 
slight stoop about the neck." 

Frederick was never so truly beloved as in 
his latter years, when a feeling of filial affec- 
tion was combined with the loyal pride of its 
subjects. In time of war the attention and 
regard which he bestowed on his soldiers, 
caring for them as individual men as well as 
leading them in corps, was wonderful ; in time 


of peace, with the same feehng he embraced 
all his people with a love that was felt by- 
each one. In those tranquil days Frederick 
could stoop to lay siege to the heart of a 
child. He had not lost his winning manners, 
and his voice was still clear and pleasantly 

Physical infirmities had tended to induce 
the slovenly habits which made the illustrious 
monarch present an appearance so strangely 
contrasting with that of the gay cavalier of 
Rheinsberg, so fastidious in his attire. Once 
a year he made a point of dressing as prop- 
erly as the cruel maladies from which he 
suffered would permit. Very rarely, on 
special court occasions, he appeared as near- 
ly as possible like the Frederick of bygone 
days. Sans-souci was his favorite palace, 
which he had built as a retreat from State 
ceremonial, as its name imports — without 
care. While Frederick's general character 
was in every respect firm, religiously he was 


at times weak and wavering. The king once 
spoke irreverently in the presence of General 
Ziethen. The courageous old soldier stood 
up, and, bowing to his majesty, said, *' I have 
fought for your majesty, I am ready to lay 
my gray head at your feet, your honor has 
ever been very dear to me, but I will not 
hear my Saviour insulted in my presence." 
The king rose from his seat, took both the 
general's hands in his, saying, " Happy Zie- 
then, I respect your faith ; hold it fast ; this 
shall not happen again." 

General Ziethen had been trained in the 
late King Frederick William's military school. 
The founders of the Prussian army, from the 
days of the Great Elector, had made religion 
the groundwork of military education, and 
the God-fearing spirit in the army more than 
once startled Frederick the Great. He had 
known many generals sincerely attached to 
the Lutheran creed, and at the beginning of 
the Seven Years' War a religious spirit was 


prevalent among Prussian soldiers. After the 
victory of Leuthen, as the troops remained all 
night on the battle-field, a wounded soldier 
began to sing the old Lutheran hymn, " Nun 
danket Alle Gott," by Rinkart : 

Now all to God give thanks 

With hearts, and hands, and voices ! 
*Tis he whose wondrous grace 

All, every-where, rejoices ; 
From birth through helpless years, 

He bore us safely on ; 
His love, throughout our course, 

Has countless favors done. 

May God in mercy still. 

While earth remains our dwelling. 
His good bestow — our tongues 

With joy his goodness telling ! 
And when our strength shall fail, 

May he display his power ; 
And, from the ills we fear, 

Defend us evermore ! 

Praise, honor, thanks to God ! 

On high the Father seated. 
The Son and Spirit too. 

With equal language greeted ! 


He is the God of old, 

And right in all his ways ; 
To him, the Great and Good, 

Let all give endless praise ! 

The band immediately played the well- 
known tune, and all who had strength to raise 
their voices joined in this noble song of praise 
and thanksgiving. In those days Frederick 
expected to die on the battle-field ; several of 
his letters prove that he thought such would 
be his fate. But he was not to be thus sud- 
denly cut down. The strength of his man- 
hood, in which he had prided himself, was to 
fail with very perceptible rapidity, yet accord- 
ing to the course of nature. The extensive 
grounds at Sans-souci, which had been planted 
and ornamented under his direction, afforded 
him amusement until within a few months of 
his death. Since he had sheathed his sword, 
farming and gardening had been his favorite 
pursuits. He never talked of his sufferings, 
but conversed on the occurrences of the times 


or on literary subjects. He took special pleas- 
ure in arranging his papers, jewels, and snuff- 

Throughout his last illness Frederick main- 
tained great fortitude. Although so distressed 
as to be unable to lie down in his bed, he pre- 
served a serene countenance, and sometimes 
indulged in a jest ; for one of his shining qual- 
ities had been a talent for repartee, which he 
possessed in perfection. We know nothing 
satisfactory of Frederick's last thoughts con- 
cerning the interests of his eternal life. The 
awful blank reminds us of his father's grief and 
his passionate anger against those who had 
cast the seeds of infidelity over the heart of 
his son. Frederick was very patient, and no 
murmur escaped his lips ; he may have expe- 
rienced more repentance and faith and Chris- 
tian hope than he expressed. 

Among his numerous friends he had num- 
bered many religious men — earnest Romanists 
and Protestants — who had loved him and 


prayed for him, but who had gone before him 
to the unseen world. Thoughts of them, or 
echoes of their thoughts, may have come back 
to him. What are twenty years when looked 
on from the brink of the grave ? His strict 
love of justice often drew down on him the 
gratitude and the prayers of religious-minded 
men. He once especially protected the Mo- 
ravian Brethren of Berlin, and, in acknowledg- 
ing this, they wrote him an affectionate letter, 
expressing the warmest thankfulness and loy- 
alty, at the same time adjuring the king to ac- 
cept the mercies of God through the Saviour. 
The letter concluded with these words, " With 
God nothing is impossible. O, Jesus, help ! " 
Frederick quietly returned it to the secretary 
who presented it, saying, " You must give 
these people a courteous answer, for they cer- 
tainly mean well by me." 

The night of August 16, 1786, was Freder- 
ick the Great's last night on earth. When, 
beneath a number of wraps, he was shivering 


with the chills of death, he noticed one of his 
Italian grayhounds trembling as it sat on a 
stool beside him, and he directed that a cover- 
ing should be thrown over the dog. He had 
a curious fancy for these little animals, and 
whiled away a great deal of his time in train- 
ing them. At midnight he was musing or 
dreaming about climbing a mountain. On 
being aroused by a severe attack of coughing, 
he said, when he had regained composure, "We 
are over the hill ; we shall go better now." 
Thus did he struggle with something like the 
old spirit to the last. Two hours afterward 
he expired while his faithful attendant was 
holding him up, and his little dog watching at 
his side. 

On the 1 8th the body was lying in state un- 
der a canopy in the yellow audience-room of 
the Palace of Potsdam ; on a tabouret by the 
ride of it were his sword, his cocked hat, his 
crooked stick, and his sash. His face retained 
the stamp of greatness, and the thin white 


hair had been slightly powdered and arranged 
in locks. In the evening, at eight o'clock, the 
coffin was conveyed to the Garrison Church, 
and Frederick the Great was placed there be- 
side his father, in the vault behind the pulpit. 
The solemn funeral took place on September 
9, about three weeks after the interment. 


jHE death of the king convulsed all 
Europe, and filled the country and 
people with mourning. His loss was 
very deeply felt in the Prussian army. He 
had led his troops in twelve pitched battles, 
and had lost only three. The great cause of 
his success was the kindly feeling which ex- 
isted between him and his soldiers. Although 
he was a strict disciplinarian, yet a very friend- 
ly relationship existed between him and his 
men. In every rank of the army there were 
those who had really profited by the religious 
privileges they had enjoyed in former days, 
and they went forth to battle looking upward 
to the Lord of hosts, singing Luther's hymns 
from the depths of their hearts, prepared to 

I^onu.nnent of Frederick the Great ' 


die, to suffer, or to triumph, according to God's 

While Prussia mourned his loss, the queen 
felt it the most deeply. She was not at Sans- 
souci when he died, which aggravated her 
grief; for, as much as he had neglected her, 
she almost adored him. His reputation was' 
dearer to her than her own life, and. with the 
most perfect meekness she had always shielded 
him from censure. She had been to see him a 
few weeks before his death. His constitution'' 
was then, evidently, very much broken, but 
there was no appearance of immediate danger. 
The king would not allow her to be sent for, 
or alarmed, on his account ; therefore the news 
of his death came upon her unexpectedly. 
She mourned sincerely. But her sorrow was 
not without hope, for she believed that her 
prayers were answered, and that her husband 
was not at the last insensible to the interests 
of the endless future. 

" A few days before his death he was car- 


ried out on the terrace, to bask in the warm 
sunbeams. Looking up to the sun he said, 
' Je serai bientot pres de lui.' His good wife 
beheved that his thoughts were then soaring 
beyond the created to the uncreated Light. 

" Elizabeth Christine had presented copies 
of all her works to her husband, who had them 
very handsomely bound, and seemed to value 
them. Who can tell how far they affected 
his mind, even though he might not consider 
them works of genius ? We know that he 
once acknowledged that he had done wrong, 
adding, '■ Perhaps, had I formerly had my 
present experience I should have traced out a 
different course from that which I have fol- 
lowed.' This was said to Madame de Kan- 
neberg, one of the queen's ladies, who had 
ventured to remonstrate with him on his not 
going to church." * 

That King Frederick, notwithstanding all 
of his coldness and seeming indifference, hon- 

* Hudson, pp. iS8, 1S9, 195, 196. 


ored and even loved his wife at times is shown 
in a letter which he wrote to Doctor Mutzell 
during a severe illness : 

'' I learn, to my great sorrow, that her maj- 
esty, the queen, is ill, and that her illness 
threatens to be serious unless speedy relief 
comes. I charge you, for that reason, imme- 
diately to visit her, and to consult with the 
two most celebrated and learned physicians 
of Berlin, in whom I have the most confi- 
dence, in order to render her all the assist- 
ance which your art and knowledge will 
afford. Bear in mind that it concerns a 
woman who is much loved, and who is indis- 
pensably necessary to the country, to the 
poor, and to me." 

The same sentiment is expressed in his last 
will and testament, which he wrote in January, 
1769. After he had made the necessary dis- 
positions concerning his interment, and named 
his nephew as his successor, he proceeds : 

'•' To the queen, my wife, I bequeath, in ad- 


dition to the rent which she has already re- 
ceived, ten thousand thalers yearly, two bar- 
rels of wine annually, free wood, and wild 
game for her table. The queen has promised 
to appoint my nephew as her heir. As no 
more appropriate place as a residence for her 
can be found, Stettin may be mentioned nom- 
inally. Still, I expect that my nephew will 
allow her apartments in the palace of Berlin 
suitable to her position ; also that he will 
show her the respect due to her as the widow 
of his uncle, and as a princess who never de- 
parted ixovcv the path of virtue." 

The Prussian people sympathized with the 
queen in a most affectionate and tender man- 
ner. When the king's remains were being 
solemnly interred in the Garrison Church at 
Potsdam the merchants of Berlin presented 
the disconsolate widow a letter of condolence. 
The queen accepted it, and expressed in writ- 
ing her gratitude and pleasure at their 
thoughtfulness of her in her deep affliction. 


After her return from Sclionhausen to Ber- 
lin the so-called mourning court took place in 
her apartments. The room, which, according 
to court etiquette, was only illuminated by 
single wax candles, was hung with black. 
The queen sat, clad in deep mourning, under 
a canopy on the throne, which was also envel- 
oped in black. All of the ladies of the court 
who were present appeared in mourning and 
wearing crape caps. The entire mourning 
court passed through this solemn and im- 
pressive ceremony in profound silence. 
. This was certainly not a mere form of eti- 
quette, in which Elizabeth Christine expressed 
her grief over the death of the great king, but 
it was to her emphatically a reminder of her 
own approaching death. Seventy-one years 
of her life had passed away. The earnest, last 
hour might quickly and unexpectedly strike 
at any time. She, therefore, immediately 
made arrangements with reference to her own 

burial. This direction is the only preserved 


memorial of the queen in her own handwrit- 
ing in the German language. We, therefore, 
translate it as accurately as we can, unabridged 
and unaltered : 

"When I have departed from this world, 
and my soul is in eternity, my will is that my 
body shall not be exhibited, and that I shall 
be left in my night neglige ; moreover, that I 
shall be wrapped in a sheet, and clothed in 
linen, and have a cap on my head, such as I 
usually wear in the morning. My coffin must 
be simply lined, and must be an ordinary cof- 
fin of oak, or black walnut, with simple silver 
handles. I desire not to be placed in public, 
and that no one see me except those w^ho 
must necessarily be with me ; also that I shall 
not be buried too soon. If possible, I wish that 
eight days pass after my death before burial. 
It is also my desire to be buried quite pri- 
vately ; my court can follow me. As it is 
quite near the cathedral, I prefer to have the 


bearers carry me. If it is too much for them, 

they can place me upon a hearse. It is my 

wish and last desire that no public ceremony 

be made. 

" Elizabeth Christine. 

" Berlin, February 28, 1787. " 

In July of the same year she made and 
signed her last will and testament, which con- 
tained five articles. In the first, according to 
her promise, she made the king, Frederick 
William II., her chief heir, and in the second, 
she directed that the twenty-five thousand 
thalers which she had brought as her dowry, 
and which had been expended in the purchase 
of Rheinsberg,' should also be given to her 
nephew, the king. In the third article she 
commended her court and her servants to his 
care, and asked at the same time that all of 
those families and persons whom she had 
hitherto supported, a list of whom would be 
found in her desk, might still be afforded as- 


sistance. The fourth article directed that 
whatever codicil might be added to her will 
should be of equal effect with the will itself. 
The fifth and last article revoked all other 
wills or pledges that she had previously- 

After the death of the king, Elizabeth 
Christine retired more than ever from public 
life. It was no longer necessary for her as 
queen to be present at the court ceremonies, 
and she was enabled more than formerly to 
enjoy the undisturbed quiet of rural life. 
Her nephew, the reigning king, bestowed 
upon her, in every way, that love and esteem 
which she so richly deserved. Each year her 
birthday was observed by the king and the 
whole court in a manner commensurate with 
her high position. In the year 1787 the king 
made her a visit of congratulation, and handed 
her a present of great value. A dinner was 
served in the Rittersaal, at which a golden 
service was used. This was followed by a 


delightful interchange of thought, which was 
participated in by the entire court. A grand 
concert and supper closed the happy enter- 
tainment. The dowager-queen had every 
reason to be pleased with the attention that 
she received from the new king, and with the 
reverence that he showed to his great prede- 

During the first years of his reign he de- 
voted himself with great earnestness and zeal 
to the demands of his royal office. He rose 
early in the morning, and labored diligently 
with his ministers and counselors. Those 
who had served faithfully under Frederick the 
Great were royally rewarded w4th honors. 
He showed all possible friendliness and con- 
descension to his subjects. In his walks in 
the Zoological Gardens he jested and chatted 
with the children and citizens whom he met. 
It was certainly no empty flattery which gave 
this king the name of " Frederick William, 
the well-beloved." He made many improve- 


ments in the discipline of the soldiers, treat- 
ing them with less severity, lowering the taxes 
as much as possible, and devoting himself with 
untiring energy to the well-being and educa- 
tion of his people. 

The queen, who had always had such per- 
fect confidence in her husband's government, 
did not always concur with the many seeming 
innovations of her nephew. She generally re- 
mained silent, but in a few instances expressed 
her opinion. On the new king's accession to 
the throne a part of the prayer, in the Com- 
mon Prayer Book, which read thus : " Espe- 
cially^ show thy grace and mercy to thy servant, 
our dearly beloved king," was changed, so that 
it now read, "to his majesty, our dearly be- 
loved king." The following part : " Especial- 
ly grant him wisdom for his government, royal 
thoughts, salutary resolutions, a courageous 
heart, a strong arm, prudent and true counsel, 
and obedient subjects," was entirely left out. 

Elizabeth Christine took Provost ZoUner to 


task for this alteration. When he defended 
himself because of the command of the king, 
she replied : '' It is quite incomprehensible ! 
My deceased husband was certainly a greater 
king, a man of greater talent ! Still he was 
never too proud to be called the servant of 
God. He also had royal thoughts, wise resolu- 
tions, and yet was not ashamed to continually 
ask for more. I cannot understand how my 
nephew could so easily depart from the estab- 
lished way." 


'HE queen's outer life remained al- 
most the same as when Frederick the 
Great was living. In summer she lived 
at Schonhausen, and in winter in Berlin. In 
the royal palace she occupied the apartments 
lying to the right of the so-called Swiss-Saloon, 
in the third story. An instance is given of 
the manner in which she sometimes enter- 
tained her guests at Schonhausen. One Sun- 
day, her nephew, the new king, paid her a 
visit. After receiving him, she immediately 
escorted him, in company with the princesses 
who were present, and the ladies and gen- 
tlemen of the court, to a shady place in the 
park, where she had refreshments served. The 
table was beautifully decorated with flowers, 


while the repast consisted only of bread, milk, 
fruit, and confectionery. The ladies sat down, 
while the king remained standing, enjoying 
some of the milk, and taking part in the con- 
versation. Thus simply and without con- 
straint did she live. 

Her literary labors were diligently continued 
during her widowhood. In 1788 she published 
the second volume of her French translation 
of the " Manual of Religion," by Hermes, and 
the following year she published a translation 
of Gellert's " Sacred Songs and Odes." In 
1790 she translated his "■ Lectures on Morals," 
in two volumes. She had a great admiration 
for this good man and his writings. It was 
her pride and her joy, as she often herself ex- 
pressed, to have been born in the same year 
in which he was. Her last work, completed 
in the last year of her life, 1796, was a new 
translation of Spalding's '* Destiny of Man," 
which she had translated in 1776, but which 
had been revised. 


In the midst of her diligence and advancing 
age she was often called to mourn the death 
of those she loved most dearly. In 1788 her 
brother, Ludwig Ernst, died, as imperial and 
general field-marshal of Holland ; and a few 
years later. Prince Ferdinand, of Brunswick, 
her favorite and most intimate brother, died, 
with whom she had corresponded regularly 
since her marriage, and to whom she had con- 
fided her joys and sorrows. The love and 
esteem which was shown her by the new king 
somewhat ameliorated her grief. Indeed, his 
kind attentions gave her much happiness. In 
1789 he presented her with a portrait of him- 
self, and asked one in return from her. She 
complied with his request, and at the same 
time sent the following letter, which shows 
the cheerful and beautiful relationship which 
existed between them : 

" My beloved Nephew : — Some time ago 
you expressed a wish to possess a picture of 


my old face. I hereby take the Hberty of send- 
ing it, in accordance with your wish. The 
picture has no other merit than this, that it 
represents a good old aunt, who is attached 
to you with her whole heart and soul, and who 
ever feels, and ever will feel, toward you the 
tender friendship of a mother. I have always 
loved you as my son, and with such feelings I 
hope to live and die. I am, your majesty, my 
beloved nephew, 

" Your true and devoted aunt, 

"Elizabeth Christine." 

In 1790 she gave a magnificent rural festival 
to the inhabitants of Schonhausen in honor of 
the fiftieth anniversary of her residence there. 
While it was a day of great rejoicing to the 
people, it was to her a day of melancholy 
pleasure. It brought vividly to her mind those 
fifty years that she had spent in that castle in 
seclusion, separated from, and almost ignored 
by, her husband, whom she so devotedly loved 


and admired. Yet her heart was full of grati- 
tude, for she had passed quiet and peaceful 
days in her apartments, and in rambling in 
the beautiful gardens and grounds connected 
with the castle. 

She had here learned how to conquer and 
conceal her grief, and to ignore the pomp 
and vanity of court life. The society of a 
few devoted friends, the study of her dear 
books, surrounded by the beauties of nature, 
and, above all, the calm and sweet commu- 
nion with her God, were the pure joys that 
she had experienced in such a rich measure 
during the past fifty years. 

At the time of the death of Prince Ferdi- 
nand, and as the king was about to join his 
army, Elizabeth Christine wrote him a very 
affecting letter, expressing her interest in his 
welfare. His reply is certainly a beautiful 
proof of the confidence which he had in her 
piety, and of the tender sympathy that he felt 
for her in her affliction : 


" Madame : — As I am sensible in a high de- 
gree of the attention and the gracious letter 
of your majesty, I give you my sincere thanks 
for this, and for the sympathy which you show 
toward me in reference to the forthcoming 
campaign. There were only two reasons which 
made me resolve upon this undertaking, first, 
that it would contribute to the welfare of hu- 
manity, and second, the hope that it might 
prevent the dangerous outbreak of an anarchy 
whose center would be France, and which, 
later, would have disturbed all Europe. I 
have taken every precaution which human 
prudence could devise for the carrying out of 
my undertaking. My intentions are pure ; and 
as to the result, I submit it and myself to the 
will of divine Providence. 

*' What my dear aunt has communicated to 
me concerning the worthy and deceased Fer- 
dinand has affected me very much. Only the 
knowledge of his excellent character and his 
deep piety can lessen my grief, and make me 


submissive to his loss. When I think of your 
majesty, I know that you will find consolation 
in divine Providence, who has vouchsafed to 
you such great faith, and that you can now 
have an opportunity of testing this faith. 
And, my dear aunt, I hope that this great 
treasure of happiness and bliss that you are 
striving after may be yours. 

" I venture urgently to pray your majesty, 
during this time of sorrow, to take good care 
of your health, and to consider how precious 
your life is to me, and to all those who have 
the happiness to be related to you. 

" As I leave the day after to-morrow for my 
army, my dear aunt will allow me, in these 
lines, to commend myself to her gracious re- 
membrance, and to repeat to her the assurance 
of the sincerest and humblest affection, which 
I now have and ever hope to have. 
" Your faithful nephew, 

" Frederick William. 

"Potsdam, July 8, 1792." 


Incidents fj|om !f T|e^etiiofe William ^n/$ Boyhood. 

period of her Hfe, had many atten- 
^^% tions, and enjoyed the society of the 
king's children, her grand-nieces and nephews. 
She was never happier than when surrounded 
by them, and their cheerful life refreshed her 
last years like the sweet breath of Spring. 
Frederick William, the crown-prince, who suc- 
ceeded his father to the throne, always mani- 
fested a very great attachment for his aged 
aunt. It was to her a day of great rejoicing 
when he married the beautiful and accom- 
plished Princess of Mecklenburg - Strelitz, 
Louisa Augusta Wilhelmina Amalia, who was 
destined to be the most celebrated woman in 
Prussian history. On this festal occasion 


Queen Elizabeth Christine was particularly 

The crown-prince, as well as his brothers, 
was also a great favorite of Frederick the 
Great, and had given him, in his old age, much 
amusement and pleasure. " One day, for ex- 
ample, while the king was writing in his li- 
brary, the little boys were playing at ball in 
his room. One of the boys, Frederick Will- 
iam, repeatedly threw the ball close to the 
king, who at last caught it and put it into his 
pocket. The little prince repeatedly asked 
for it, but the king quietly went on writing, 
till at length there came, in a tone of indigna- 
tion, 'Will not your majesty give me my 
ball ? ' The king looked up and saw the little 
Hohenzollern planted firmly, in determined 
position, wearing quite a peremptory air. 
* Thou art a brave little fellow ; they wont get 
Silesia out of thee ! ' cried he, laughing, and 
throwing the ball to the child." 

The little princes had not had much of their 


father's attention in their early days. Their 
mother, Frederica Louisa, of Hesse-Darmstadt, 
who was devotedly fond of them, had had 
much to depress her spirits, and they had been 
educated by a harsh tutor, Hofmeister Benich, 
an irritable, peevish man, whose nerves were 
not strong enough to bear with the noisy vi- 
vacity of boys. Under these circumstances 
the princes had grown up rather shy. Mons. 
Mirabeau, the French embassador at the court 
of Berlin, says that their manners were awk- 
ward, and not always courteous. But that 
shrewd Frenchman had penetration to see 
strong elements in young Frederick William's 
character. " Everything that is heard of him 
shows a fine character ; every thing in him has 
a decided stamp ; he asks the reason of ever^^ 
thing," says Mirabeau. He adds, "This young 
prince may have a great future before him." 
This opinion accords with the words of Fred- 
erick the Great, ''// me recommencerar ^ 

* Compare Hudson, in loco. 


The prince's education was very carefully 
finished. Professor Engel, and Ramler the 
poet, gave him lessons in philosophy and in 
German literature. It is remarkable that his 
last governor, Count Bruhl, who performed 
the duties of the appointment with scrupulous 
conscientiousness, was a Polish nobleman of 
high descent, whose family had for generations 
sided against Prussia with all its strength and 
weight. Moreover, he was a Roman Catholic ; 
but this circumstance does not seem to have 
affected the religious opinions of the prince, 
which have been fully put before the world by 
Bishop Eylert, who knew him very intimately. 

Prince Frederick William had grown up un- 
der the eye of Frederick the Great, for he was 
nearly seventeen years of age when this aged 
monarch died. The aged Frederick seems to 
have looked beyond the immediate heir, the 
father of this young prince, and to have set 
his hopes upon the promising son, who, if he 
lived, would one day be King of Prussia. He 


won the heart of the child, who grew up en- 
tertaining toward him that feehng of mingled 
love, respect, and confidence which ennobles 
those who give it as much as it dignifies those 
who receive it. The last conversation which 
closed this intercourse between the old king 
and his nephew's son made a deep impression 
on the young man's mind. It set a seal which 
gave reality, validity, and enduring power to 
all that had gone before. 

Many years afterward Frederick William III. 
showed Bishop Eylert the garden-seat under 
the beech-trees at Sans-souci, on which he and 
Frederick the Great had sat together for the 
last time. "The king," said he, "spoke of 
my studies, and examined me, questioning me 
especially in history and mathematics. He 
then conversed with me in French ; we talked 
together some little time, until he took from 
his pocket a volume of La Fontaine's Fables, 
and selected one for me to translate to him. 
When I had done so he praised me for having 


construed it correctly and fluently. It hap- 
pened to be a fable which I had previously 
translated to my tutor ; therefore I knew it 
well, and told him this. The king's stern face 
brightened with a smile as he patted my cheek, 
saying, ' That's right, Fritz ; alv/ays be honest 
and sincere ; never try to appear what you are 
not, but always be more than you appear ; 
above all things, try to be a sterling character.' 
He then arose and walked very slowly toward 
the entrance of the park, talking to me by the 
way more seriously and confidentially than he 
had hitherto done. ' Fritz,' said he, * you 
should prepare yourself for the future which is 
preparing for you. My career has come to an 
end, my day's work is done. I am afraid that 
when I am gone there will be great confusion ; 
things will go on pele-mele. The whole world 
is in a ferment, and the rulers, especially those 
in France, unfortunately foster the exciting 
elements, instead of appeasing or neutralizing 
them. Unity is destroyed, the separated 


masses are already beginning to move. And 
when this state of things comes to a crisis, it 
will be Satan let loose. I am afraid it will be 
thy lot, Fritz, to see troublesome times ; that 
you will sometimes find yourself in a difficult 
and dangerous position. Well, then, qualify 
yourself to pass through trials ; prepare to 
meet them firmly. When that day comes, 
think of me ; watch over the honor of our 
house ; be guilty of no injustice, but, at the 
same time, tolerate none.' 

" While the king was speaking we had 
walked on slowly, and were approaching the 
obelisk. He fixed his fiery, penetrating eyes 
upon it, and lifted up his stick to point. 
* Look at that, Fritz,' he said, ' look at it 
well, and let it always say to thee, ^^Ma d^'oit- 
ure est ma forced ' He then quietly bade me 
observe that the summit of the obelisk, taper- 
ing, lofty, and aspiring, overlooks and crowns 
the whole ; but that it does not support, but 
is itself supported, by all that is below it, 


especially by the invisible, deeply-laid founda- 
tion under ground. Then said King Freder- 
ick, ' The supporting foundation is the peo- 
ple, the nation in its unity. Stand by it 
faithfully, that it may love and confide in 
you ; through the people only can you be 
strong, prosperous, and happy.' He turned 
his eyes on me, looked at me from head to 
foot, and gave me his hand. Then came the 
parting kiss, and the last words, ' Do not for- 
get this hour.' " "And I have not forgotten it," 
said Frederick William III. to Bishop Eylert. 
The troublesome times foreseen by Freder- 
ick the Great had arrived before the youth 
whom he warned had attained to the prime of 
manhood. Evil spirits were, indeed, let loose, 
and passing events must often have reminded 
the crown-prince of that conversation in the 
park of Sans-souci. The crown-prince and 
his brother Louis shared all the dangers en- 
countered by war, and cheerfully bore every 
inconvenience and hardship incidental to the 


duties of active service. The crown-prince 
gained a high military reputation for a man 
of his age. The words of the immortal Fred- 
erick were remembered in those days of trial : 
" // nie recommeiiceray Although the young 
prince was devotedly attached to the memory 
of his illustrious ancestor, the two characters 
were remarkably dissimilar in many respects, 
and nothing could be more opposite than the 
circumstances under which they were devel- 
oped. The crown-prince's marriage to the 
accomplished and Christian Princess of Meck- 
lenburg-Strelitz did much toward establishing 
his character. 


HIS marriage was celebrated in Ber- 
lin on Christmas-eve, 1793, seven 
years after the death of Frederick the 
Great. All of the members of the royal fam- 
ily assembled in the apartments of the queen, 
the bridegroom's mother, where the diamond 
crown of the Hohenzollerns was placed upon 
the head of the bride. The whole court then 
repaired to the apartments occupied by the 
aged widow of Frederick the Great. 

" More than sixty years had passed away 
since Elizabeth Christine wore the bridal 
dress ; recalling that day, she may have 
thought how different are anticipations and 
retrospections. She had now reached the 
sunset hour of a truly Christian life, when 


the glory that is overhead tones down the 
strong contrasts of earth ; and in the power 
of that new Hght tranquiUity becomes the 
blessing of the hour." 

Ehzabeth Christine accepted the formal 
invitation to grace the wedding with her 
presence, and they all proceeded to the white 
drawing-room, where, according to custom, 
the ceremony was to be performed. It was 
a very large and splendid room, entirely dec- 
orated in white and silver, glittering with 
mirrors and glass chandeHers. The style of 
magnificence is chaste and simple. The silver 
gallery, for an orchestra, was originally of pure 
silver, but when Frederick the Great needed 
money for the '' Seven Years' War " he melted 
it down, since which time it has only been 
plated with silver. 

*' In the middle of the saloon a crimson 
canopy, embroidered with gold crowns, had 
been erected, beneath which stood a table 
covered with purple velvet. In front of this 


table the royal family arranged themselves, 
forming a semicircle. Bishop Sack, who had 
baptized, confirmed, and administered the first 
communion to the crown-prince, now ad- 
dressed the young couple in an appropriate 
discourse. Frederick William and Louisa ex- 
changed their rings of betrothal, and were 
married according to the rules of the Lu- 
theran Church. 

**The wedding banquet was served in five 
State-apartments. The royal family sat at a 
table in the knights' hall. The king. Queen 
Frederica, Queen Elizabeth Christine, the 
bride and bridegroom were seated under a 
baldachin of crimson velvet, embroidered in 
gold. The ministers, general officers, and no- 
blemen sat in an adjoining apartment. 

" The ball in the white saloon opened with 
the national Fackel Tanz. This solemn torch- 
light promenade is performed slowly as the 
Minnet de la Cour, but to more spirited music, 
which was adapted to the national dance in 


the days of Prussia's first king — Frederick I. 
The dance itself is of much higher antiquity; 
it was danced by the mail-clad warriors of the 
olden time, not only in the palaces of the 
kings, but also in baronial halls, in the flaring 
light of real torches, to the sound of very rude 
musical instruments. Only at the Prussian 
court is this old custom still observed at every 
royal wedding. 

'' The royal party ranged themselves in a 
semicircle and sat down, the sovereign being 
on his throne in the center. Gayly-dressed 
pages held the lights, which they gave to the 
cabinet ministers when drums and trumpets 
announced that the Fackel Tanz was about to 
begin. At a signal made by the great cham- 
berlain, eighteen State ministers advanced, 
two by two, each bearing in his hand a large 
brilliant candle, which represented the torch 
of the Middle Ages. Then came the bridal 
pair, followed by their splendid suite. When 
the crown-prince and princess approached the 


throne, and bent to the king, his majesty rose 
and took the bride's hand, while the crown- 
prince led his mother. Queen Frederica, and 
his aged aunt, Elizabeth Christine. In meas- 
ured steps to the slow but loud martial music, 
they made the circle, inclosed by a golden 
cord drawn round by pages within that large 
saloon. When the king had resumed the 
throne, the bride led the procession around as 
many times as there were royal princes in the 
room ; so each in his turn had the honor of 
handing her round, while the bridegroom took 
all the princesses in rotation, and every one 
bowed and courtesied profoundly when pass- 
ing the king and queens. 

*' To picture this scene, we must remember 
that ladies wore very high plumes, generally 
fastened above the forehead with a large bow 
or brooch in front of the band of velvet, silk, 
or jewels which encircled the head. The 
dresses were very scanty, with tight corsage 
and long trains, so long as to require four or 


six train-bearers. The bride's train was borne 
by maids of honor, the others by pages. The 
bride's dress was entirely of silver glace, sim- 
ply made, but the corsage glittered with dia- 
monds corresponding with those of the crown 
on her head. The other dresses, plumes, and 
trains presented a great variety of color and 
material. Many robes were richly embroidered 
in gold and silver. Gentlemen still wore long 
embroidered coats, with lace ruffles, and dis- 
played brilliant buckles at the knee and on 
the shoe, and the cocked hat was indispen- 
sable, carried under the arm in the room. Both 
ladies and gentlemen whitened their heads 
with powder. 

" At length the Fackel Tanz was ended, and 
the minister gave back the candles to the 
pages, who lighted the bride and bridegroom, 
their nearest relatives, and a select train of 
attendants, to the suite of private apartments 
prepared for them in the king's palace." "* 

* Hudson, vol. i., pp. 311-313. 


Two years after this marriage, to the great 
joy of the royal family, a little prince was 
born, who received the name of Frederick 
William. It was Queen Elizabeth Christine's 
happy privilege, at the age of eighty years, to 
be one of the sponsors for this child. The 
christening took place in the crown-prince's 
palace at Berlin, under the throne canopy in 
the audience-chamber. Bishop Sack performed 
the baptismal service. The King of Prussia 
held his grandson at the font ; and the child's 
maternal grandfather was also present. The 
infant prince had many sponsors. Besides the 
aged queen were his two grandfathers ; the 
Empress Catherine, of Russia ; Francis IL, 
the last Germanic Roman Emperor ; King 
George III., of England ; and Queen Charlotte 
and the Duke of Brunswick. This little prince 
succeeded his father, and died in 1861, child- 
less, when his next younger brother, William, 
the present German Emperor, ascended the 


Beautiful ^)U M^^, 

^^^^^^HE household of the aged royal 
rji^ widow was conducted without osten- 
^ tation, but in a manner commensu- 
rate with her high position. The embas- 
sadors who appeared at the court of Berlin 
never failed to present themselves before her 
majesty, and were received with all honor. 
Distinguished foreigners, also, were invited to 
Schonhausen. Occasionally she gave a ban- 
quet, followed by a concert or some diverting 
entertainment for these celebrities. She gen- 
erally dined with her maids of honor, a few 
chamberlains, and invited guests. It was her 
custom to invite a few persons to play in the 
evening, but, as a rule, she retired early. 

She still occupied herself daily with elevated 
studies. Her literary labors were limited al- 


most exclusively, as we have seen, to the 
translation of religious works, but her studies 
were more extended. She read, with great 
diligence, not only Greek and Roman classics, 
but studied the history of all countries, espe- 
cially the history of her own country. Her 
writings testify how deeply she had penetrated 
into the spirit of the old philosophers. Her 
letters also are a proof of this. To one of her 
friends, Fralilein von Kamecke, she once 
wrote : '' I have commenced the Annals of 
Tacitus, and find them charming to read. 
One recognizes in them the spirit of the great. 
This book captivates me, and while I read it 
I am often prompted to meditation, and many 
times to applications and comparisons." 

The well-known scholar, Erman, gives the 
following notice of her in his "■ Memoirs : " 
" Queen Elizabeth Christine, the wife of Fred- 
erick the Great, adorned the throne by her 
virtuous and exalted character, which invested 
her name with reverence and admiration. Her 


astonishing diligence enabled her, amid the 
duties and distractions of court life, and the 
most extensive household cares, to occupy 
herself with comprehensive studies and liter- 
ary labors. One is astonished to see the great 
number of French translations which she has 
made from the best German authors on faith 
and morals. She spent several hours daily in 
the valuable library which she had collected, 
and which she has bequeathed to Prince 
Henry, the brother of the reigning king. She 
was familiar with both German and French 
literature, and her knowledge of history often 
astonished men of science whom she honored 
with her conversation." 

Voltaire was several times in her society, 
and sent her, on different occasions, his pub- 
lished works. Notwithstanding the flattery he 
bestowed upon her, either verbally or by let- 
ter, he remained as a stranger to her. She 
could not respect a man who scoffed at sacred 

literature, and perverted the rich talents which 


God had given him. Other learned men, such 
as Maupertius, d'Alembert, Erman, Farmey, 
Biisching, Teller, Silberschlag, Dietrich, Zoll- 
ner, and Spalding, often appeared at court, 
and were invited to her table. 

She often remarked : *' I esteem it an ines- 
timable treasure that I was early taught to be 
industrious, and accumulate as much knowl- 
edge as I possibly could. This discipline is 
now a source of great benefit to me." She 
educated in the same way her niece, the Prin- 
cess Frederica, and inspired, by word and ex- 
ample, the same industry into her housenold, 
and even sought to exert her influence in 
wider circles. 

When quite advanced in years she estab- 
lished a little colony or village, on the border 
of the beautiful pine and beech wood which 
stretches from Schonhausen to the Reineck- 
endorfer heath, which to this day bears the 
name of the " Queen's Plantation," or Schon- 
holtz. The colonists received their houses and 


land free, for which they had only to work a 
certain number of days in the royal gardens at 
Schonholtz or Schonhausen. She also found- 
ed a free school for the children of these colo- 
nists, paying the teachers herself. Formerly 
Schonhausen had been surrounded by dense 
woods, but during the war these had been par- 
tially destroyed. The queen resolved to re- 
store this forest, and wrote several times with 
reference to this project to the minister, von 
der Schulenburg. '* If I cannot, on account 
of my years, live to see a full-grown forest," 
she wrote in one of her letters, "it will give 
me pleasure to see the young growth of it, and 
be able to picture to myself once more the 
country with all those charms which it used to 
have, when, in my young days, I used to go 
through it so often." In another letter she 
wrote, "As the king must pass this place every 
year on the occasion of his military reviews, I 
know that it will give him pleasure to see this 
sandy soil planted with young trees. I hope 


this plan will be carried out, as it will be also 
a great benefit to the country and to the in- 
habitants of the neighborhood, who need shade 
and wood." It gave her great pleasure to see 
her proposition carried out, and to live to see 
the young trees growing up. 

At that time Christian education and Church 
customs prevailed in the Prussian capital. A 
writer of the period, who described the state 
of religion in Prussia in a series of letters, says 
concerning it : "A great part of the upper 
classes of Berlin have distinguished themselves 
by their true genuine piety, and by dutiful at- 
tendance to public worship. There are good 
families, who, by the careful Christian training 
of their children, amid all the dissipations to 
which their high rank subjects them, by the 
most undeniable example of humanity and 
justice, and, especially, by noble exemplary 
conduct, make themselves honored and re- 
spected every-where." The same writer adds, 
*' The exalted mother of the land, the queen, 


who is so much beloved by all Prussians, 
stands at the head, and her example is certain- 
ly potent enough to make a strong and lasting 
impression upon the noble-minded courtiers 
and the well-disposed nobility. Nearly every 
Sunday she attends divine service with her 
court in her apartments. Her favorite min- 
isters are Pastors Dietrich, Sack, Spalding, 
Troschel, Noltenius, Erman, Bruhn, and Kus- 
ter, who are summoned whenever she wishes 
them." She always partook of the Holy Sac- 
rament in her apartments three or four times 
during the year, up to the latest period of her 
life. When in Berlin she was accustomed to 
regularly attend public worship in one or the 
other of the churches. While the Prussian 
royal family acknowledged the Reformed doc- 
trines, Elizabeth Christine remained true to 
the Lutheran confession. 

She sought to draw people of her own con- 
fession around her, and selected for her special 
pastor a clergyman of that faith. Provost 


Reinbeck officiated in this capacity up to the 
year 1741 ; from that time to 1749, Inspector 
Jocardi ; from 1749 to 1762, the Supreme Con- 
sistorial Councilor Baumgarten ; and from 1762 
up to the time of her death, 1797, the Arch- 
deacon of the Marian Church, Johann Samuel 
Dietrich. Her chief consolation and joy were 
derived from reading and meditating upon the 
word of God. Her piety and faith gave to her 
life its strength and dignity. It was, there- 
fore, no false flattery when, in the dedicatory 
address of a work inscribed to her, she was 
called, " A queen after God's own heart — a 
pious and truly Christian queen." Neither 
w^as it a mere stroke of courtly rhetoric or pol- 
icy when Consistorial Councilor Kuster said, 
in the dedication of a book to her: ''The voice 
of impartial truth testifies that your royal 
majesty has won from the noble-minded the 
deepest and most affectionate reverence, by 
your truly exalted moral actions. Of this I 
have been a witness for fifty years, and from 


year to year my respect has increased ; for I 
have often observed, with joyful praises to 
God, how much good has been done for in- 
tellect, religion, humanity, morality, and the 
welfare of all classes through your majesty's 
example and active influence. Never shall I 
forget the hour when, during the war, I saw 
and heard your majesty, as an example of the 
most sublime reverence and heroic confidence 
in God, publicly offer up prayer. Then, when 
the cowardly trembled and the worldly-wise 
were thoughtful, your royal majesty, a heroine 
unshakably strengthened by God, maintained 
a joyful hope in the future." 

This faith was proven alike by word and 
deed. She was deeply sensible of the truth, 
*' Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of 
his might," and exemplified it throughout her 
whole life, and in her unhappy marriage. As 
she never allowed herself to yield to revenge- 
ful thoughts, so she watched over her sur- 
roundings. Passion, enmity, and evil intrigue 


were banished from her quiet circle. Her Hfe 
was one of suffering and love, and in both re- 
spects she proved herself to be a true and 
tried Christian. One of her most conspicuous 
traits of character was her humble benevo- 
lence. She settled an annual scholarship on 
the Science School of Berlin, which, to this 
time, is paid to poor pupils. She gave her 
active assistance and sympathy to the deaf 
and dumb asylum in Schonhausen. She gave 
to the poor more than half of the money that 
was settled upon her at the time of her mar- 
riage. She even deprived herself of luxuries 
that she might be able to help the needy. It 
was very painful to her not to be able to assist 
all who presented their petitions to her. 

She was particularly fond of beautiful pearls. 
One day an exquisite necklace, such as she 
had never seen before, was offered to her for 
sale. She could not determine whether to 
purchase it or not, and allowed it to remain a 
long time without deciding. One day she ex- 


amined it again with great delight, and turned 
smiHng to those around her with the question, 
"Shall I buy it?" They answered, "Your 
majesty can very well afford to do so ; you give 
so much to others, why should you not retain 
this for your own pleasure?" After reflecting 
a m.oment, she said, " Take it away ! It pleases 
me, but for the money which it would cost I 
could make many poor people happy." That 
she was charitable in the true evangelical 
sense is seen by the fact that she exercised 
her benevolence entirely in secret. She did 
not allow her left hand to know what her right 
hand did, and unwillingly heard her gifts and 
charities spoken of. 

Her sociability was another attractive trait 
in her character. She was never more de- 
lighted than when the palace grounds and 
gardens were filled with people. The more 
crowded the avenues were, the happier she 
was. She always had a pleasant word for 
those she met in her walks. Dr. Eschke, to 


whose asylum she gave much assistance, re- 
lates that she very often conversed with his 
deaf and dumb orphans in the most friendly 
manner. Children were very fond of the godly 
queen, for she always talked with them as she 
met them in her rambles. 

A pious gardener of Berlin, in company 
with his little daughter, visited his uncle at 
Schonhausen, who was a gardener in the serv- 
ice of the queen. Elizabeth Christine fre- 
quently met the little girl, and became quite 
fond of her, so much so that she expressed a 
wish later to see her again. Her father, ac- 
cordingly, brought her to Schonhausen. The 
queen was informed of her arrival one day, as 
she was about to sit down to dinner, and or- 
dered her servant to bring the child imme- 
diately to her, and place her in a chair that 
she might see all that was on the table. The 
queen wished to hear what naive expression 
the child would make at the splendor of the 
royal table. Her large eyes gazed first at the 


richly dressed guests, and then at the elegant 
service that was on the table. Folding her 
little hands she prayed aloud : 

** The blood of Christ, and righteousness, 
These are my only festal dress ; 
With them I shall 'fore God appear, 
When I am called to his heavenly sphere." 

This confession made a deep impression on 
the guests. The queen drew the child to her 
with emotion and kissed her fervently. One 
of the court ladies said, with tears, '' O the 
happy child ! how far we stand behind her ! " 
It was as if the voice of the Saviour sounded 
in their midst : '' Whosoever shall not receive 
the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall 
not enter therein." And yet such faith was 
not strange at the court of Schonhausen. 
Elizabeth Christine had, as her words and 
works testify, made the motto of the apostle 
her confession : '' For me to live is Christ, and 
to die is gain." 


Best at Last. 

'^HRIST is my life ! This confession 
was visible throughout the entire life 
of the queen. And because Christ 
was her life, death was her victory. During 
her last years she completed a second transla- 
tion of the work of Pastor Spalding on the 
" Destiny of Man," which she had translated 
and published in the year 1776. This book 
was a great favorite, and had passed through 
thirteen editions. The author had revised it, 
and made many valuable additions ; for this 
reason the queen resolved to make a new 
translation, which she did. In the preface to 
this translation — and it is her last literary con- 
fession — she says : 

'' We must not be strangers to ourselves, to 
our own hearts and conciences. We must 


often, and with all carefulness, investigate and 
prove our thoughts, our leading principles, 
and our plans of life. So long as we fail in 
that we shall only cast inquisitive glances 
around us on the subjects which excite our 
curiosity and engage our attention. The ob- 
ject itself, the destiny of man, is of the most 
weighty importance for the whole of human- 
ity. Our talents can find no more glorious 
employment than by becoming acquainted 
with, and attempting to employ, those means 
which lead man the most easily and surely 
into the sanctuary in which true wisdom is 
enthroned. While we examine ourselves, we 
shall with reverence and with perfect submis- 
sion hear the decree of the eternal God who 
gives to conscience its law." 

Ever nearer and louder Elizabeth Christine 
heard the decree of the eternal God, and she 
felt that she must prepare to meet him. In 
April, 1796, she added a codicil to her last 
will, in which she bequeathed some valuables 


to the crown-prince and the other princes 
of the royal house, remembering also Duke 
Frederick of Brunswick-Oels and the ladies of 
her court. In this codicil she expressed a 
wish that the members of her household 
might remain after her death in possession of 
their salaries as long as they lived, and at the 
same time the hope that the king would neg- 
lect none of them, nor allow them ever to 
suffer from want. A letter to the king, which 
she apparently wrote at this time, makes men- 
tion of this subject, and reads as follows : 

'■'■ Sire : I wish to give you my thanks, and 
to testify my gratitude for all the goodness 
and friendship which you, my dear nephew, 
have manifested toward me during my life. 
If I have in any way merited the same, it is 
because I have ever been sincerely devoted to 
you, and have entertained the tender love of 
a mother toward you, for I always looked 
upon you as my son. I wish you, my dear 


nephew, a long and happy reign. May your 
subjects long have the happiness of retaining 
and looking upon you as a father ! May God 
long preserve your dear family, and all who 
add to your happiness or contribute to the 
welfare of your country ! Such are the sin- 
cere wishes which I have at all times cher- 
ished toward your majesty. 

'' I now commend to you my entire house- 
hold, and the poor whom I have been accus- 
tomed to assist. Let them still enjoy the 
perquisites which I have afforded them during 
jny lifetime, according to my power and pos- 
sessions. The list of the poor, as well as of 
my household, is added here. In the same 
desk the inventory of both palaces will be 
found. The list of my jewels is in the casket. 
You will have the goodness to let my other- 
wise trifling heritage be distributed according 
to the accompanying list. 

'' I remain until death, with unchangeable 
affection and the most perfect friendship, 


" Your majesty's humblest, truest, and most 
devoted aunt and servant, 

" Elizabeth Christine." 

The new year, 1797, began. On the second 
day of it the queen became ill, and lived only 
twelve days. Some of the court ladies who 
were with her tried to inspire her with hopes 
of restoration to health. She replied, *' I have 
lived long enough; I am much indebted to 
the goodness of God. I can now be of little 
more use either to myself or any one else by 
living longer. I shall be better in heaven." 
This hope^was the bright sunbeam which illu- 
minated her last hours and sufferings. Short- 
ly before she closed her eyes in death she 
gave her faithful companions her parting 
blessing. She said to them, " I know that 
you will not forget me." On January 13, 
1797, at the age of eighty-one years, two 
months, and five days, the godly queen de- 
parted this life for her heavenly home. It 


was the same year in which her nephew, the 
reigning king, was to die, and on the same 
day in which, seventeen years before, her be- 
loved sister Louisa, the dowager Princess of 
Prussia, had died. 

The directions which she had written down 
in the year 1787 concerning her funeral were 
strictly fulfilled. Her body was interred at 
eight o'clock in the evening, on January 20, 
in the Cathedral of Berlin, in great quietness 
and without any pomp. On January 22 me- 
morial services in her honor were held in all 
of the churches throughout Prussia. At this 
time the glorified princess received from her 
faithful subjects the praise which she so richly 
merited. Since that time her name has been 
almost obliterated from Prussian history. The 
heroic deeds of Frederick the Great fill pages 
upon pages in history, but the life of his ex- 
alted and devoted Christian wife has been 
almost forgotten. And yet the great king 

once testified that she was " a princess who 


had never departed from the path of vir- 


Preuss, the Prussian historian, who has writ- 
ten a history of " Frederick the Great and 
His Times," has given the following sen- 
tence in her praise, " So long as the crown 
of Prussia beams, so long will the virtues of 
Queen Elizabeth Christine be glorified in its 

She deserved such a sentence in a high de- 
gree. She justly merits a prominent place 
among the noble princesses and queens of 
Prussia and of all countries. Her meekness, 
Christian patience, and amiable disposition, 
which were always perceptible, even amid 
heavy contests, adorn her brow with more 
splendor than the royal crown ever did. Her 
truly Christian faith makes her example ever 
memorable to those who believe in the Sav- 
iour. She was, and remains, to all women 
a noble example of womanly, Christian 
virtue. By gentleness and trust she had 



fought a good fight ; she had finished her 
course ; she had kept her faith ; henceforth 
there was laid up for her the crown of right- 

' ' Weary one, thou now dost see where God hath led thee, 

His darkest dealings trace ; 
And by those fountains where his love will feed thee 

Behold him face to face." 

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